Saturday September 7, 2019 (RBB NEWS) – MOGADISHU “Media organisations have condemned the blocking of two websites in Puntland and Somaliland terming the move an affront to press freedom and denying the public access to information.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ) condemned the blocking of Puntland Times and Hadhwanaag News calling it ‘an attack to press freedom’.
“The blocking of the website has denied many people in Somaliland access to information which is tantamount to a denial of basic human rights, including freedom of expression and press freedom,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
Authorities in Puntland announced September 3 that it was shutting down Puntland Times but did not cite reasons.
Puntland Times editor Farah Abdulkadir Geylan quoted by NUSOJ said he had not been informed of the reasons for the closure of the website by the government but there were reports it could be linked to a story carried by the news site about ministry of information salary delays.
In Somaliland, a court declared Hadhwanaag News be blocked for ‘baseless” articles and interviews damaging the reputation of the Central Bank governor, Ali Ibrahim Jama ‘Baghdadi’, and accusing him “misuse of public funds”.
IFJ called on authorities in Puntland and Somaliland to respect press freedom and stop stifling the media. “We condemn the blockade of news websites in Somaliland and Puntland regions.
The IFJ urges authorities to respect freedom of information and stop harassing critical media. The blockade of Hadhwanaag News and Puntlandtimes.com must be lifted.”