Information Minister says VOA Somali and BBC Somali could lose their licenses if anti-Somaliland reporting continues


HARGEISA –  Somaliland’s Information Minister said last week that BBC’s Somali Service and VOA’s Somali Service could get kicked out of the country for their partial and anti-Somaliland reporting.

Minister Osman Abdullahi Sahardiid made the remarks during Somaliland’s June 26th Independence day celebration at the Presidential Palace last Monday.

Sahardiid said that Somaliland has no benefit for keeping the two radio stations, as both radio stations constantly disrespect Somaliland’s sovereignty.

Sahardiid comments echoes statements made by many other Somalilanders who were also angered by their reporting on the June 26th independence anniversary.

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In their news reports, both radio stations refused to recognize that June 26th is Somaliland’s independence day, choosing instead to refer to it as Somalia’s first independence day’, and as the day the ‘northern regions of Somalia won independence’.

VOA Somali and BBC Somali have been at odds with the Government of the Republic of Somaliland many times in the past.

VOA Somali signed an agreement with Somaliland’s Information Ministry in 2014, pledging to respect Somaliland’s independence in their news reports, and have been accused of breaking the agreement on several occasions.

Earlier this year, Somaliland’s Information Ministry filed a report with BBC World’s Service after BBC Somali reporters in London organized a staged debate with the intention of discrediting a senior Somaliland cabinet minister.

Executives from BBC World Service’s Africa Branch arrived in Hargeisa shortly after the report was filed, and promised to take swift action.

If evicted from Somaliland, both stations would lose hundreds of thousands of listeners, and will not be able to provide reports from Somaliland.

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Both VOA and BBC haven’t commented on the Minister’s remarks.

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