Senegal: CPJ condemns arrest of 2 journalists in Somalia

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned Somali authorities for arresting two journalists working for privately-owned broadcaster, Universal TV, in Mogadishu.

In a statement, made available to PANA here on Tuesday, CPJ said Abdullahi Hersi, the TV station's East Africa director, and Awil Dahir Salad, a producer, were arrested by  Somali national security forces on 2 October.

The journalists were said to have been arrested without a court order and the security agents also raided the Universal TV offices in Mogadishu, switched off the broadcast signal, and ordered the station to be suspended indefinitely.

According to the press freedom body, the journalists have not been charged and no official reason for their arrest and the raid has been made.

"We condemn the arrests of Abdullahi Hersi and Awil Dahir Salad and the suspension of Universal TV,'' remarked 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."

The security agents are said to be holding the journalists at the Godka Jilacow detention centre in Mogadishu.

CPJ discloses that Universal TV, which has headquarters in London, UK, can still be accessed outside of Somalia, but its coverage has been limited since the Mogadishu office was forced to stop work.

The arrests and suspension of the station were said to have followed a show produced by Awil, called ''Doodwadaag'' - meaning debate broadcast on October 1.

''During the show, parliament members Abdi Hashi Abdullahi and Mohamed Abdi Yusuf discussed the presence of foreign troops in Somalia and other sensitive issues,'' the statement noted.

Universal TV journalists told CPJ they suspected that the show was the reason for the arrests of their colleagues and the raid.

African Union forces and troops from neighboring countries are said to have collaborated with the Somali government forces for several years in an attempt to oust the Al-Shabaab militia.

Meanwhile, Somalia's Information Ministry is reported to be engage in talks with the national security agency to have the journalists released.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 6Oct2015

06 october 2015 15:32:27

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