October 2, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the
suspension on Thursday of three Voice of America (VOA) reporters in the
semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia. Puntland’s
Deputy Minister of Information Abdishakur Mire Adan issued a letter
suspending all three VOA correspondents and any other VOA journalist
from reporting in the region.
The suspended VOA correspondents included Nuh Muse in Garowe, Mohamed
Yasin in Galkayo, and Abdulkadir Mohamed in Bossasso. According to the
director general of the Somali Broadcasting Corporation, Mowliid Haji,
the deputy minister also sent a decree banning all VOA affiliate FM
relay stations from airing VOA programs from Friday onward.
Security Minister General Abdullahi Samatar and Adan wrote a separate
letter on October 1 claiming the VOA reports from Puntland were
“negative” and instigated instability in the region. The two officials
held a press conference in Bossasso today and announced the VOA
suspension in Puntland was indefinite, local journalists told CPJ.
The Washington-based VOA Somalia bureau chief, Abdirahman Yabarow, told
CPJ he believes the suspension stems from a VOA interview Wednesday of
Sheikh Sayid Khalif, a religious leader who allegedly opened a branch of
the religious group Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama’a in Puntland. Ahlu Sunna
Wal-Jama’a is a non-militant, moderate Sufi group with considerable
influence in the region, local journalists told CPJ.
“This suspension contravenes Puntland’s constitution and is a serious
affront to press freedom in the region,” said CPJ Africa Program
Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “Puntland authorities must lift this ban
immediately and allow VOA Puntland coverage to continue without
On August 25, Galkayo police briefly detained VOA correspondent Yasin
after reporting that a former governor’s son had killed a man in broad
daylight, local journalists told CPJ. Galkayo police warned Yasin the
next day to stop all work for VOA.
According to local journalists, many parliamentarians are opposed to the
suspension and have said they will raise the matter in the next
CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works
to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit
Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465 1004 Fax:
(212) 465 9568 Web: www.cpj.org
Tom Rhodes | Africa Program Coordinator | email@example.com | (212) 300 -