Somaliland journalists jailed ‘for publishing propaganda’

A court in the breakaway republic of Somaliland has sentenced two journalists to two years in prison each for “publishing propaganda”, a local rights group says.

Mohamed Abdullahi Dabshid of London-based Kalsan TV and Ahmed Diriye, a manager at the Somali Broadcasting Corporation, were accused of publishing “subversive and anti-national propaganda”, the Somaliland-based Human Rights Centre (HRC) said.

The charges against the journalists are linked to a story claiming Ethiopian militiamen were being trained in Somaliland.

HRC’S head, Guleid Ahmed Jama, condemned the sentencing of the journalists, adding that “journalism is not a crime”.

A lawyer for the journalists said he will appeal against the convictions.

Somaliland possesses a vibrant and diverse range of news media, but human rights organisations say its media laws are restrictive.

Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but it has yet to achieve any formal international recognition as a sovereign state.