Friday, October 28, 2011

Does harassing journalists help the Somaliland's claim of being peaceful and Democratic part of Somalia?



It is always the talk of the Somaliland politicians and authorities that the region is an example of growing democracy and peace in the war torn of horn of Africa nation.

At the international conferences and when receiving diplomats the leaders do not shy away to be proud of what they call as  " an independent and peaceful republic, which is on its way of seeking international recognition, despite Violations of Press Freedom and ordeals subjected to the journalists.

It is unfortunate that democracy, the strongest political tool for Somaliland, is not fully practiced.

We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:

A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2.  The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.

3.  Protection of the human rights of all citizens.

4.  A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

Have Somaliland Authorities met with all these standards? No Really.

In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them. These rights are guaranteed under international law.

You have the right to have your own beliefs, and to say and write what you think. No one can tell you what you must think, believe, and say or not say.

There is freedom and pluralism in the mass media. You can choose between different sources of news and opinion to read in the newspapers, to hear on the radio, and to watch on television.

It seems that Somaliland authorities think only democratic election through ballots can help claim a democratic republic.

The federation of Somali Journalists: FESOJ, has documented at least dozens of flagrant violations and abuses against journalists in Somaliland, among them beating journalists, arbitrary arrests and threats in the line of their duty.

The most recent freedom case in Somaliland was decumented on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011 by FESOJ office in Mogadishu.

Journalist, Mohamed Abdi Kahin, who works for both a Somali new website Ramaas and Royal Television 24, was seriously beaten by Somaliland police with baston.

The police men who attacked the journalist accused him of taking recently published photographs.

More badly, the journalist was denied access to file a case against his assailants to the Police, something that shows how also the justice system in Somaliland is not even-handed.

"They did what they could  and I was denied access to the police station, that is not fair" Mohamed Abdi Kahin told FESOJ, with a very low and sad voice.

Repeated calls and appeals to the Somaliland authorities to stop such unacceptable human rights violation against journalists seem to have fallen into deaf ears.

"We condemn the act to our strongest terms possible and call for Somaliland leaders to stay on the line of real democracy and such unwelcome actions have to end ," said FESOJ chairman, Mohamed OLad Hassan

FESOJ has also asked the Somali journalists and organizations that stand for their rights and advocacy to show solidarity with the Somaliland journalists.

FESOJ has also sent a letter of request asking the United Nations and other Human right Organizations to mount press on Somaliland authorities to respect the freedom of the media.

FESOJ OFFICE in MOGADSHU

+25261-554-0001 - deputy chairman Ibrahim Mohamed Moalimuu
+1571-2167331 - the chairman - Mohamed Olad Hassan - the chairman

FESOJ is  a partner Press freedom organization of the SOJANET.

Written by FESOJ chairman Mohamed Olad Hassan and Posted by SOJANET secretary general Mohamed Odowa

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SOJANET members. Kampala, Uganda.