Today, 3rd May 2014, 328 signatories have submitted petition to the president of Somaliland H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud. The petition demands the government of Somaliland to lift the suspension of four independent newspapers, Haatuf, Hubaal, Somaliland Times and The Independent. The newspapers were closed down in Somaliland by the authorities.
The signatories consisting of human rights organizations, journalist’s organizations, lawyer’s organizations, civil society members and organizations, traditional elders, business community, professionals, academicians, members of the two houses of the parliament, the political parties and political association have requested the president to lift immediately the suspension of the four papers without condition. The signatories comprising of all the segments of the society demanded the government to protect the freedom of expression and to observe the separation of powers enshrined in the constitution.
The submission of the petition took place the World Press Freedom Day, 3rd May 2014. The petition quoted article 32(2) of the constitution which states that the press and other media are part of the fundamental freedoms of expression and are independent. All acts to subjugate the media are prohibited by the constitution. The papers were not given opportunity to defend themselves before the decision of the closure was taken.
This petition is the first of its kind ever presented to the president of Somaliland. The signatories hope that the Head of State will respect the people’s demand.
Human Rights Centre