“The Hubal closure order emanates from a request by the Attorney General” Magistrate Ismail
“The run-down of the media house is related to a recent article on the Nile dam” Editor Wayab
“The Hubal closure shall negatively impinge on the country’s quest for international recognition” Nagib
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGESA (Somalilandsun) – Hubal newspaper did not hit the streets today following a court order suspending its operations.
A court order which was issued by the Maroodi-jeeh (Hargeisa) Regional court on 11th June 2013 ordered the Hubal media group to suspend its operations with immediate effect without giving reasons for the action thus affecting both the daily Somali language (Hubal) and weekly English language (independent) newspapers.
According to the Hargeisa regional chief magistrate Feisal Abdilahi Ismail the Hubal shut-down order that emanated from a request from the office of the Attorney General also affects any printing house that facilitates the production of the Hubal media group publications while the ban stands.
According to the Hubal editor –in-Chief Mr. Abdilahi Aden Omar ‘Wayab’ the rundown of the media house by the state is as of an article it published pertaining to the ongoing saga of the Nile dam between Egypt and Ethiopia in which the paper requested the Somaliland government to publicly indicate its stand on the issue.
The article in question had mentioned the Egyptian threat to destroy the on-construction Nile dam by attacking Ethiopia and its allies notably Somaliland.
The Hubal media group was in the news recently after two armed police officers (one of them now in custody) attacked the group’s offices in the middle of the night firing bullets at Editor Mohamed Ahmed Jama ‘Alole’.
After a scuffle in which Alole received several beatings courtesy of heavy sticks (Bakora), thus a broken hand, one police who was subdued and arrest with his pistol and cell phone confisticated while his colleague escaped and remains at large despite the governmdent confirming that the attackers were serving police officers.
A Human rights activists and former Human rights commissioner in the US state of Oregon Mr. Nagib Ahmed Shunuf says that the Hubal closure is a distasteful act that shall not only portray the government as dictatorial in the eyes of the international community but “one that shall negatively impinge on the country’s quest for international recognition”
Mr Shunuf who opinionated that powers to shut down the paper originate from the recently ratified and hotly contested National intelligence act said, “This act gives the state dictatorial powers especially as pertains to media houses in which a carte blanch authority is legalized for any action the government deems fit on the fourth estate.
“Hubal with its daily scathing attacks on the administration was the apt candidate to be the first casualty of the intelligence act” Says Shunuf
The rights activist urged the government to tread slowly since its actions even those justified by unethical media houses shall be construed as not only an attempt to muzzle free speech but curtailment of human rights.
The closure of Hubal media group has raised a nationwide hue and cry from various personalities and opposition political parties just as the attack on editor Alole did a short while back.
Among those critical to the media house closure was the WADDANI opposition party which expressed its concerns during a press conference in Hargeisa.
The Party’s information secretary Mohamed Hassan Dirir told the press conference that WADDANI party is deeply concerned over government’s action to close the offices of Hubal Media Network offices at a time the media house was awaiting from the government the results of April attack on its offices by masked policemen that injured its manager.
Read the full WADDAN statement here