Somalia accuses arrested journalists of public ‘incitement’
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Director of Somali National Intelligence Agency C/raxmaan Maxamuud Tuuryare
MOGADISHU (HOL) —-Somalia’s national intelligence agency has accused a journalist and his director it arrested this of inciting violence through their coverage after their television station hosted a debate which discussed about a meddling by neighbouring countries in Somalia’s internal affairs.
Awil Dahir Salad, a producer of the London-based Universal TV who hosted the debate in which Somali parliamentarians criticized the government’s rule and its ‘leniency’ towards ‘intrusive’ politics by neighbouring countries and Abdullahi Hersi, the television’s bureau director were arrested on Friday after being summoned to the intelligence agency headquarters.
During the debate, two Somali legislators have alleged that neighbouring countries notably Ethiopia dominates Somali politics and continues to divide Somalia along clan and regional state lines.
“When a media outlets is used to extort state institutions, defame constitutional heads of state, creates a political instability and instill public hopelessness – they inflict a damage more harmful than terrorism,” said a statement from Somalia’s National intelligence agency (NISA) on Tuesday.
“We haven’t taken action against this television station just because of one reporting, but there have been previous detrimental actions they have committed.” The statement added.
The statement from the Somali Intelligence agency comes as the two media workers are spending their fifth day in a prison in the Somali capital.
Journalists’ watchdogs accused the government of violating freedom of speech by arresting the journalists, an action which they said constitutes a flagrant violation of freedom of information.
“We condemn the arrests of Abdullahi Hersi and Awil Dahir Salad and the suspension of Universal TV,” said Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We call on Somali authorities to stop this arbitrary harassment of journalists and respect freedom of the press, as called for in the country’s constitution.”
Besides Syria, Somalia is one of the most dangerous places media workers operate. Dozens of journalists have been killed in the past few years, forcing many to flee the horn of Africa nation where political parties vying for Somali politics, government and militants are often blamed for journalists’ deaths.
Very few perpetrators have been so far been charged with the cold-blood murders which sent shockwaves across media industry.
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