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Somalia19 August 2008

Radio Daljir’s regional director released after being held overnight

Mohammed Mohamud, the regional director of Radio Daljir, a privately-owned station broadcasting in the northeastern, semi-autonomous territory of Puntland, was released yesterday afternoon after being held overnight. No charges have been brought against him.

18.08 - Radio station director arrested for report on opposition presidential candidate

Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of Mohammed “Welcome” Mohamud, the regional director of privately-owned Radio Daljir in Bosaso, in the northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, who was arrested yesterday for allegedly breaking the law governing a presidential election due to be held in the region on 30 December.

“Mohamud’s arrest is meant as a warning to the Puntland press in the run-up to the presidential election,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The climate is getting more and more hostile for the region’s journalists, who are already under pressure from clan chiefs and their militiamen. The use of the police for electoral purposes in unacceptable and must be banned.”

Puntland’s police chief telephoned Mohamud at 12:30 p.m. yesterday and asked him to report to the Bari regional police command headquarters in Bosaso. As soon as he arrived, Mohamud was placed under arrest for broadcasting a statement by presidential candidate Nuradin Adan Diriye the day before. The police said this violated a presidential decree limiting electoral campaigning to the two months prior to the election.

The Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), said: “Many journalists in Puntland report that they have often been threatened and censored by police and by Puntland’s powerful political figures.”

Local journalists say Mohamud’s arrest is a threat to the entire profession and they attribute it to the fact that Puntland’s current president is seeking reelection but does not have as much funding as his rivals and is not as well prepared as they are.

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