RSF decries expulsion of two British TV journalists from Somalia’s Puntland region

Jamal Osman Somalie presse liberté Puntland

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the expulsion of a British TV news reporter and his producer from Puntland, an autonomous region in northeastern Somalia, to which they had gone to cover the crisis affecting shipping in the Red Sea.

Do the Somali authorities have a grudge against Jamal Osman, the Africa correspondent of the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 News? This is the second time that this Somali-born journalist has been deported from Somalia in the past 14 months.

Osman and his Channel 4 News producer, who prefers not to be identified, flew to Garowe, Puntland’s capital, with the aim of conducting interviews for a TV news report on the situation in the Red Sea, where ships are being attacked by both pirates and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

However, they were detained on landing at Garowe’s airport on 18 February and were deported back to the United Kingdom the next morning, despite having a letter dated 15 February from Puntland information minister Mohamud Aydid Dirir authorising their visit to “document the effects of pirates and other developments related to the new pirate activities in Puntland.”

Jamal Osman and his producer had taken the necessary steps with the authorities before landing in Somalia. Their arbitrary expulsion demonstrates a desire on the part of the Somali authorities to prevent these two journalists from working freely, especially Osman, who is renowned for his investigative reporting. We deplore their expulsion and call on the Somali authorities to allow journalists to report freely, even on security matters.

Sadibou Marong
Director of RSF’s Sub-Saharan Africa bureau

Shortly after their arrest, Osman and his producer were taken to a hotel controlled by the Puntland Intelligence Service Agency (PISA) and from there to a PISA office where they were questioned for nearly three hours. Their interrogation was brought to an end by two generals who apologised for the way they had been treated. They finally spent the night in the PISA press conference room before being escorted to Garowe’s airport. Throughout the entire period, their passports and phones were confiscated, returned and confiscated again several times.

Back in London, Osman told RSF that the information minister, Mohamud Aydid Dirir, tried to reassure him and his producer in an initial phone call following their arrest. But in a second call, he told them that the order to arrest them had come from a higher level. Neither the information minister nor Puntland government spokesman Jama Deperani responded to RSF’s calls.

Osman was detained shortly after landing in Mogadishu in December 2022, held overnight in his hotel and put back on a flight to the United Kingdom the next morning. His June 2022 report about the Somali rebel group Al-Shabaab had particularly displeased the Somali authorities

145/ 180
Score : 39.4
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