29/04/2000 – COMMUNIQUE DE SOMALILAND FORUM pour réclamer une presse indépendante à Djibouti. – M. GUELLEH interdit la presse du Somaliland à Djibouti. (En anglais)

SOMALILAND FORUM
Embargoed Sunday April 23rd, 2000, Ref. SF/EC-010-2000

Media Release

Censorship manifests itself in Djibouti, a Country without Any Private
Somali Language Newspapers

The people of Djibouti, an East African Nation, had been for decades saddled with a Hobson’s choice when it came to newspapers. There was just the official government owned « La Nation. » However, since it is in French only, this paper was restricted to the few privileged who understand the French language. The vast majority of the people were essentially without any newspaper in their native language, which is the
Somali language -the other native language being Afar.

The yearning of the Djibouti people to read something in their native language was being filled these last few years by newspapers flown daily from the neighbouring Republic of Somaliland. In particular, the newspaper known as Jamhuuriya, which is printed in Hargeisa, Somaliland become very popular.

Now the government of Ismail Omar Guelleh has taken away the freedom of choice for print media information from the people of Djibouti. All newspapers from Somaliland have been banned and in particular Jamhuuriya and its sister publication, the Republican. The Government of Djibouti has given no particular reason for banning these newspapers. Jamhuuriya and its sister publication had not been accused of any crimes. Nevertheless, what could they be accused of anyway? These two independent papers have established a tradition of good journalism for themselves and that is why the people of Djibouti are buying them.

The only reason for this attack against the press is that the government of President Guelleh does not want his people reading independent news and information from other sources. The Government of President Guelleh is practicing censorship and is curtailing the freedom of the press by deciding what the people of Djibouti may read or may not read. This is a deplorable act in the 21st century and it should be condemned by all those concerned with free speech and free press.

Therefore, we call upon the international community to condemn this flagrant act against free speech and the freedom of the press in Djibouti, as well as lift this censorship and let the people make their choice of media information source.

Backgrounder:

The Somaliland Forum is an international organization that brings together Somalilanders from all parts of the world through the medium of the Internet. The primary objective of the Forum is to work with the
communities around the world in order to provide some lasting solutions to the problems and needs of Somaliland and its people. The Forum primarily sponsors public programs that benefit a wide array of needs such as Education, Health, and Infrastructure. It has, in the past, helped schools, universities, hospitals, and orphanages. In addition,
the Forum closely follows the regional and local politics in Somaliland, and is active in responding to issues that the Forum finds important.

For further information, please contact

dott. Jama Musse Jama, Pisa, Italy, jama@dm.unipi.it.
Tel. 39 0338 9679505 fax. 39 050 968 525 or

Miss. Deqa G. Hiddig, Toronto, Canada,
(dhidig@yahoo.com)

For more information, Please visit the forum’s web
site at: http://www.somalilanforum.com

P.O. Box 39059
235 Dixon Road, Toronto
Ontario, M9P 3V2
Canada

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Centreville, VA
20120-0220
USA

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London E1 0HJ
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Clayton, Melbourne
Victoria – 3168
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Hawally 32045
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State of Kuwait

Vaskivuorentie
20C40
01600 Vantaa
Finland

_____________________________________________________

Chairman’s address Chairperson@somalilandforum.com
http://www.somalilandforum.com
Via di Pratale 103 F, 56100 Pisa, Italy (tel.39-050
598077 / 39 338-967-9505, 39 050 844 224).