The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) protests against the arrest of an independent journalist in Bossasso, Puntland, on accusations of “spreading misinformation” after conducting interviews on the streets with members of the public.
Journalist Ahmed Botan Arab, who is working as a freelance journalist, was arrested by Puntand police, after conducting vox-pop on how the people see the speech of Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni on Sunday evening, 21 February, about the political situation in Somalia.
A local journalist in Bossasso who does not want to be named in fear of reprisal said Puntland authorities first tried to stop the release of the vox-pop interviews with people because public views collected by Ahmed Botan on President’s Deni’s speech were really damaging against the President.
After releasing the vox-pop interviews through the journalist’s YouTube channel, which immediately went viral, the police reportedly acting on the orders of senior officials arrested Ahmed Botan Arab who is currently being detained at Bossasso central police station. When fellow local journalists visited him at the police station, they were informed that he is accused of “spreading misinformation” and the order was issued from Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
“This outrageous attempt to suppress the truth, victimise an innocent journalist and illegally detain him for doing his job must be strongly rejected. Ahmed Botan Arab is the second journalist currently being detained in Puntland for doing their journalistic work” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
“We call on President Said Deni’s administration to reverse this alarming trend of repression, release detained journalists and let them do their work without fear of reprisal” added Osman.