Somali national security forces Closed the offices of the privately owned broadcaster Universal TV in Hamar City on October 2 and arrested Abdullahi Hersi, the station’s East Africa director, and Awil Dahir Salad, a producer, on the same day, according to local journalists and reports.
Abdullahi and Awil were arrested without a court order after being summoned to the offices of the National Intelligence and Security Agency, news reports said. Authorities are holding the journalists at the Godka Jilacow detention center, three Universal TV journalists, who have not been named out of security concerns, told CPJ.
On the same day, security agents raided the Universal TV offices in Mogadishu, switched off the broadcast signal, and ordered the station to be suspended indefinitely, the same journalists said. Abdullahi and Awil have not been charged and no official reason for their arrest and the raid has been made, according to the journalists with whom CPJ spoke.
“We condemn the arrests of Abdullahi Hersi and Awil Dahir Salad and the suspension of Universal TV,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We call on Somali authorities to stop this arbitrary harassment of journalists and respect freedom of the press, as called for in the country’s constitution.”