Somali journalists caught in land dispute crossfire

from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – MEDIA rights groups are demanding the release of journalists and lift a ban on television stations caught up in the conflict between the breakaway Somaliland and Puntland.

The two regions have both vied for control of the Sool region for over ten years with fighting in recent weeks over the disputed area claiming dozens of lives.

Somaliland police recently arrested 57 protesters advocating support of Puntland and the Mogadishu-based government of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Two journalists covering the conflict have been arrested and two television stations banned.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the arrest of Mohamed Ahmed Jama and Abdirahman Keyse Mohamed and the banning of privately-owned SBS TV and SOMNews.

Angela Quintal, CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator, said during times of conflict, the government must create a conducive environment for journalists to communicate diverse information to the public, not stifling the press.

“We call on the Somaliland authorities to lift the operations ban on SOMNews and SBS TV, and to stop detaining and harassing journalists,” Quintal said.

The Somaliland government has recently taken stern action against the media in connection to the conflict in Puntland.

According to the Human Rights Centre, parliamentarians have banned unauthorised press conferences and meetings in the Sool region.
– CAJ News

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