As government discloses that it shall to adhere to Due Process of Law before Proscribing Errant Media Outlets
By: Osman A.M.
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – “Whilst I am not contented with the closure of Haatuf Media Group I am equally not in support of the paper publishing malicious allegations on the character of Bashe who is not a public official. Yusuf Abdi Gaboobe (Proprietor) is my long time friend but that does not mean that he should defame Bashe in any way”. Abdilahi Mohamed Dahir, Information Minister commenting on the closure of independent paper Haatuf
The Government must adhere and respect established norms operating in the country when dealing with independence & freedom of the press.
This was an approach taken by the Information, Culture & National Guidance Minister Abdilahi Mohamed Dahir aka Ukuse while addressing a convention organized by Somaliland Non State Actors Forum (SONSAF) to address challenges facing contemporary media practitioner in Somaliland that took place on Wednesday at Mansour Hotel in Hargeisa.
Ukuse revealed that the Government did not just proscribed Haatuf, a independent paper unilaterally insisting that emissaries is to be employed & if other avenues are exhausted, due process must be adhered & engaged by affording the defendants right to defend themselves in a court of Law with avenues of appeal put in place.
“I think you are all waiting for appropriate responses as to what merited the closure of the independent outlet. Let me state that this is not a regime that just gets up one morning orders for padlocks and locks premises of media outlets. No, that is not our modus operandi, we first seek redress in the legal system as an aggrieved party but before we resort to that we usually send emissaries to the proprietors of independent media house with reprimanding messages. If they restrain themselves, we leave them alone but on the contrary if they insist on publishing libelous articles vilifying the individuals holding public offices then we consult before resorting to the next course of action”, Ukuse informed the participants.
The Information Minister acknowledged the fact that he is not contented with the ban on the paper while equally not in support for the paper to maliciously attack the character of a normal citizen with no tenure in public portfolio for 15 consecutive days by repeating the same allegation on the personality of an individual.
Ukuse was remorseful in equal measure on the fate that befell Haatuf paper, disclosing;
“Yusuf Abdi Gaboobe (proprietor) is a long time friend & a brother indeed but that does not give him the nod to assassinate the character of Bashe (a private citizen) with no public portfolio. Bashe has a right to enjoy his life just like other citizens”, reasoned the Information Minister.
Ukuse also absolved blames befalling Haatuf from Bashe hinting that he is out of the country at the moment.
“People believe the last transgression carried by the paper justified its closure, previous malicious publications prompted its ban. Court orders granted to Interior Minister & other Ministers who sought redress over previous editions maliciously portraying them negatively in the eyes of reasonable members of the society necessitated the ban”, revealed Ukuse.
Lastly the Information Minister called upon all Journalists, Media outlets & Media owners to restrain from contravening legal norms governing the operation & conduct of the industry in as much as avoiding infringing the rights of individuals –private or public.