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

    MONTREAL, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - 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.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111,

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