Senegal: CPJ condemns arrest of Somali Journalist

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the arrest of a Somali Journalist, Jama Yusuf Deperani, by authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

In a statement, made available to PANA in Dakar on Monday, CPJ said Deperani, a reporter and presenter with Somali Channel TV, was arrested without being charged on 19 November by the Puntland Police.

"We condemn the arbitrary arrest of Jama Yusuf Deperani, one of the few remaining critical voices within the region, and call for his immediate release," remarked CPJ's East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes.

"This kind of harassment could induce other Puntland-based journalists to censor their reporting for fear of similar treatment," he said.

According to the statement, the arrest came after Somali Channel TV, a privately-owned broadcaster based in London, received a letter from the Puntland information ministry dated November 10, ordering the temporary suspension of Jama from his journalistic duties.

CPJ said the letter, a copy of which was in its possession, did not provide a reason for the suspension and Jama continued working and that might be the reason behind his arrest.

The statement quoted Somali Channel TV East Africa Bureau Chief, Abdirizak Cirro, as saying that the ministry had no authority to order the suspension of a journalist working for a privately-owned media outlet.

Jama was said to have presented and produced a critical talk show consisting of half-hour interviews with politicians and other high-profile figures.

He was said to have interviewed the information minister four days before the ministry issued the letter ordering his suspension.

The interview was said to be critical of the current administration in Puntland.

According to CPJ, this is not the first time the information ministry has issued arbitrary orders to try to censor the Puntland independent press.

Meanwhile, the statement cited another recent example on 29 October, when the information ministry issued a letter banning local stations from airing programmes produced by the U.S.-government funded Voice of America Somali Service for "damaging the dignity of the Puntland State".

However, the Puntland authorities were said to have rescinded the directive two days later after negotiations with the broadcaster.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 23Nov2015

23 november 2015 12:18:17




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