Two TV stations have been shut down by police as part of a growing media clampdown in Somaliland, which has intensified the media crackdown.
On June 27, authorities withdrew the operating licences of Universal TV in the region. They sent the police to shut down its offices. Two days earlier, police had closed down Star TV, a privately owned and independent channel. The director claims he is not aware of the reasons that caused the police action.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined with the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), to call on the authorities to stop attacking independent journalism. According to NUSOJ, the closure may have to do with Star’s TV recent in-depth coverage of the Somaliland talks in Djibouti.
These two forced closures illustrate the precariousness of press freedom in Somaliland. NUSOJ has also reported that several journalists in Hargeisa were warned not to report ‘negatively’ on the president’s actions and the talks’ outcomes.
According to the union, there have been repeated episodes of intimidation and censorship.
Earlier in February, a surge in violent attacks, threats, harassment, and intimidation of media workers was reported.
The Amnesty International Director for East and Southern Africa said the crackdown on the right to freedom had been happening with impunity, and that the authorities hardly investigate or prosecute perpetrators of attacks on journalists and media houses.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ Secretary General says it is inadmissible that two media organizations are arbitrarily closed down within a couple of days. He said IFJ demands that Somaliland authorities end their occupation of media offices and stop obstructing media freedom.