Addis Abeba – Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has condemned what it described as “escalated suppression of media freedom in the Somali Region” which according to the party has “devastating impact on Journalism and the right to information.”
ONLF said in a press release on Saturday that despite the services they have been providing to the state and to the people, the regional government has banned 13 major news outlets using the federal media authority as a pretext.
According to the statement, the government’s crackdown on media freedom started two years ago when it closed “the only independent TV, which was trying to report truthfully”.
The recent ban on foreign media outlets according to ONLF, “was prompted by the media’s coverage of the government’s neglect of the ongoing drought situation and increasing corruption scandals,” the press release stated.
ONLF also criticized the government for withdrawing the certification of the journalist association which was registered and operating legally, saying that it clearly indicates the attack on press freedom and the right to express dissent.
“We stand in solidarity with them and call on the world to speak out against these oppressive actions,” it stated.
The freedom of the press is a fundamental human right and it is alarming that the government in the Somali state seems to have no regard for it, it stated, adding that, “Journalists in the Somali regional state is in desperate need of support as they fight for the right to report the truth”.
On 01 February, the Somali regional police arrested journalist Muhiyadin Mohammed Ali who works for Kalsan TV a day after a decision by the region’s communication bureau to take 15 foreign media outlets broadcasting in the region off air, accusing reporters of the outlets based in the region of working without licenses. AS