The Human Rights Journalists express deep concern at the decision of ministry of information of Punland State of Somalia that revoked the license of SBS Somali TV.
On October 23, Puntland information minister Abdi Hirsi Qarjab issued a statement and officially rescinded SBS TV license. The information minister accused SBS TV of destabilizing the security and political system of Puntland. The minister also accused of managers of the TV to have ignored the fore-warnings given to them by the authorities. The statement did not precisely say any specific news or programs that SBS TV aired which prompted security instability in Puntand Satate of Somalia.
SBS TV director Faisal Khalif told HRJ that SBS TV complies with core principles of ethical journalism and that SBS TV is beleaguered for its journalistic work. Mr. Faisal denied that the authorities cautioned them or complained against news and programs of TV.
Reliable sources told HRJ that Puntland authorities was infuriated by an interview that SBS TV had recently had with top military and police officials in Puntland who criticized the current leadership of Puntland and condemned interstates conference that was taking place in Puntland at the time of the interview.
“Puntland authorities should immediately lift the ban on SBS TV and allow the TV to resume its operations,” said HRJ Chairman Ismail Sheikh Khalifa. “Ministry of information of Puntland should stop intimidating journalists and criminalizing journalism.”
On May 29, the ministry of information of the self-declared republic of Somaliland banned SBS TV from operating in Somaliland by revoking its license.
The ban on SBS TV operations is a press freedom violation and clearly contravenes article 18 of provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia which guarantees freedom of press and freedom of expression.