Somaliland: Government Closes Universal TV in Hargeisa

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Somalild Police have raided the offices of Universal TV news station based in Hargeisa, Somaliland capital on Saturday.The security forces have ordered the operating staffers to close down the television station indefinitely.According to the authorities of the television news station, the police have not issued a warrant of closure. Mohamed Abdi Digale, the director general of Hargeisa headquarters for the Universal Television News station, said that he suspected the government ordered the station to go off air on issues relating of broadcasting on the 26th June from Mogadishu and he underlined that the station has widely covered events held to commemorate the 60th independence anniversary in Hargeisa. Mohamed Abdi Digale added further that the station reserves the right to broadcast any event of their priority as long as the TV station is a private owned and not a public one.The government also shut down on Thursday Star television news station which is also a privately-owned one.The moves have been interpreted as threat to Somaliland freedom of the press. The constitution guarantees the freedom of speech in Somaliland. The minister of Information, Sulieman Ali Kore has cited that the reason for the shut down of the news station is that it turned down to broadcast live on Somaliland president’s speech on the 60th Independence anniversary commemoration held at the presidential palace on last Friday. The minister further added that the TV station has not respected the special day for the celebrations of the Independence day.

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