HARGEISA, 24 September 2009 (Somalilandpress) – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its concern over the continuous degradation of freedom of expression in Somaliland, following the publication of a new report by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, on the state of freedom of expression and cases of violations of media freedom in Somaliland.

”We are deeply concerned by what is happening in Somaliland, where journalists face enormous difficulties to do their job safely,” declared Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “We urge the Somaliland authorities to be more tolerant in their relationships with the media”

The report, which is titled “Media Freedom Kept within Bounds”, unearths evidence-based information from journalists and media managers who recounted unrestrained and vituperative attacks on journalists and media houses.

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The media professionals hold Somaliland authorities responsible for outrageous and systematic suppression of independent reporting. The report further blames the judiciary which it says lacks independence and is used to legitimize denial of freedom of expression.

According to the report, the failure on the part of tribal elders to properly appraise the meaning of press freedom has resulted in journalists being detained on allegations of law breaking, criminality, misconduct or malpractice.

“The report reveals the situation of the press in Somaliland. It depicts ferocious attacks on the media. Somaliland authorities are exerting control over the print media and are impeding efforts to establish independent broadcast media to disseminate independent news to the people,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

IFJ calls for Somaliland authorities to put an end to press freedom violations and to create a more democratic environment for safe working conditions for media in general and private media in particular.

Source: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)