Somaliland: Court Orders Journalist’s Arrest


DG Abdirashidl (Left) and Editor Alooley poised for legal confrontationBy: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – An ugly confrontation is brewing between the government and Hubaal newspaper.

The Hargeisa regional court has ordered the CID Commander to effect the immediate arrest of Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Jama.

According to a letter from the Hargeisa Regional Court, Ref:MGH/39/2012 dated 30th July 30, 2012 and signed by acting Regional magistrate Faisal Abdilahi Ismail, the CID is to arrest Mr. Mohamed A Jama the editor of Hubaal for publishing an unregistered newspaper and present him to the court.

The saga seems to have originated following a press statement released by the director general at the ministry of information Mr. Abdirashid Jibril Yusuf on Saturday the 29th July which stated that media houses are obliged to register before operation as established by the law.

While informing that the information ministry has conducive working relationships with the country’s media The DG’s statement informed the public that Hubaal newspaper that hit the streets recently is unregistered thus illegal.

The DG asked the proprietors of the newspaper to stop publication with immediate effect until they have completed all necessary legal procedures.

Hubaal proprietors failed to heed the DG’s orders and the newspaper’s issue hit the Hargeisa Street as usual thus the court order.

While the ministry of information has made it clear that the newspaper is being published contrary to legal stipulations, the Hubaal editor claims that he is within legal rights as the newspaper is duly registered and has all documentary proof for anybody interested.

According to Editor Mohamed popularly known as “Alooley” (Tummy) his newspaper was registered in 2010 after he fulfilled all legal pre-requisites for registration and argues that the DG should have first ascertained the fact first before making the false claims

Editor Alooley who informed that his is in the process of entering legal proceedings against the DG for defamation of character says he is a law abiding citizen and a journalist with decades experience thus impossible for him to publish an unregistered paper.

With daggers drawn between the ministry and Hubaal newspaper with the court in the middle, the ensuing confrontation is set for the worst as the wanted editor claims the real issue is not registration but an article he published on Saturday informing that the President was ailing and set to travel abroad for medical attention.

If the issue is registration then the ministry is in for embarrassment as the paper is duly legal but if the issue is the ailing president article then Hubaal is in for a grilling because the item was originally posted by the Indian Ocean times.

If this is the case the ministry’s non-registration bullets have misfired while the anticipated Hubaal ones will hit BULLS Eye.

So the ministry should pursue the matter via the erroneous article route which is unethical in the first place and most likely false because editor Alooley did not try to validate information about his own president received from a website based God knows where.