MAY 5, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005



Authorities in the autonomous region of Puntland ordered the closing of the weekly newspaper Shacab for allegedly inciting violence, according to CPJ sources. The decree cited the government’s constitutional responsibility to uphold the unity of Puntland.

The decree was signed by Vice President Hassan Dahir Afqurac on behalf of President Adde Muse Hirsi, who was traveling abroad, according to the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON). It ordered Shacab “temporarily suspended” for an undetermined period for publishing unspecified articles that it claimed could lead to unrest.

Shacab has been the target of ongoing government harassment. In April, Shacab editor Abdi Farah Nur and reporter Abdirashid Qoransey were detained, tried, and acquitted on charges of incitement and insulting the president. Those charges were based on a mid-April article suggesting that citizens with complaints about the Puntland government contact their representatives in parliament, and a reader’s letter criticizing authorities, according to Farah.

Farah told CPJ that official harassment of the newspaper has continued since their release on April 24. Government officials have made several visits, raising questions about the newspaper’s license and demanding payment of “taxes.”