Newsletter No 11 20 December 2005
Press Freedom Alerts:
Latest Press Freedom News from the Region

»In Morocco, the Al Bidaoui weekly was prevented from printing on 10 December, according to reports. An official at the Eco-Print printing presses said he would not print the weekly unless it changed a headline on the front page.

The article’s headline, in Arabic, can be translated “God blame this country”. According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the official said he had received instructions for not printing the weekly but he did not say from who.

»In Somalia, the editor of privately-owned radio STN FM, Awale Jama Salad, has been able to come out of hiding and resume his normal life and work after intervention by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Awale Jama Salad, who has been arrested and threatened by the security services on several occasions, is now able to work without fear, organization Reporters Without Borders said.

Minister of Information in the TFG, Mohammed Abdi Hayir, who intervened with the authorities in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, reportedly said that he would act to ensure that Awale Jama Salad could come out of hiding.

Police in the city of Bossasso began searching for Awale Jama Salad in the last week of October. He had been in hiding since then. The police told his colleagues they wanted him to report to the police station for questioning because he had, they claimed, provided “dishonest information” to Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

Awale Jama Salad and STN manager Abdisarak Shek Adun had been arrested on 30 June and held for nearly two weeks because of an interview with a candidate for the post of Bossasso mayor. The authorities also closed the station as a result of the interview.

However, RSF said it is concerned about repeated press freedom violations in Puntland. Three journalists on the privately-owned Radio Las-Anod were roughed up by members of vice-president Hassan Dahir Afqura’s guard on 10 December 2005.

Station manager, Faysal Jama and journalists Adan Jamal Farajar and Abdiqani Haji Ise, were beaten when the vice-president was visiting Las-Anod, the western Puntland town. Abdiqani Haji Ise was reportedly hospitalized after sustaining a serious injury to his left hand.

Sources for the alerts:
Arab Press Freedom Watch (AFPW), London
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels, Belgium
International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Canada
International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna, Austria
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), France