By: Osman A.M.
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) has strongly condemned the storming, take over and closure of Hatuuf Media Group head office in Hargeisa on the afternoon of Monday.
Armed police officers with complete anti-riot gear ordered reporters, editors & other staff out of the premises and shut down the main doors to the media giant that owns and prints Hatuuf a daily paper in native Somali language and Somaliland times a weekly English language paper that is favorite of most foreigners in the country.
In a strongly worded reaction to this incident the chairman of SOLJA Mr. Hassan Mohamed Yusuf reserved no blameworthiness for the Government terming it “as despotic, tyrannical and retrospective of the gains made in the freedom of press together with the regulations governing the media industry in the last few years in reconstructing the country.
“It is obviously clear that the current regime negates the fundamental rights and freedoms spelt out in the Bill of Rights in a very unique way that never experienced before. Recurring suppression of freedom of press that is regularly unleashed against our members must come to an end. Without healing of the wounds inflicted as a result of the closure of previous media outlets namely HCTV and Hubaal we are again being subjected to intimidation and coercion that grossly prejudices our obligations notwithstanding due process of the legal systems established in the country”, Wrote Mr. Yusuf on behalf of the Association in a letter send to newsrooms dated 7th April 2014.
Also manifest in the Government’s action of forcefully taking over private property is disrespect to Laws & morality generally asserts Mr. Yusuf’s letter.
He advises the state to explore meaningful alternatives instead of resorting to intimidate & use force to invert the gains achieved so far during the post reconstruction of the nation and further counseled authorities to quash its orders of shutting down hatuuf altogether before masses turn against the rulers.