Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin
Hargeysa, Somaliland, March 8, 2008 (SL Times) – The administration of Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin has imposed new restrictions on the independent media’s accessibility to government generated information.
According to a new directive from the presidency, only journalists sanctioned by the minister of Information will be allowed to attend press conferences to be held by the president in his office.
The directive says that journalists should carry a press card issued by the minister of Information as a pre-condition for being allowed into the Presidency.
Until now it has been the practice for journalists to obtain press cards from their employers or from one of the two journalists associations in the country.
The new instructions are in line with the provisions of the draconian Yemeni press law of 1991 that the government copied, word for word, from the internet and submitted it last year to the House of Representatives as a draft press law for governing Somaliland’s independent press.
It was last month when Mr. Rayale announced that he would no longer talk to the press about his trips abroad.
President Rayale went to the United Arab Emirates last month. Before departing Hargeysa on 17/2/2008 for Abu Dhabi, Mr. Rayale told reporters that he wasn’t ready to answer any questions.
Similarly back in January, Mr. Rayale declined to take questions after disclosing that he was going to the US.
Rayale’s visit to the U.A.E is still shrouded in mystery. The president was away for 6 days and remains tight-lipped about what he was doing in Abu Dhabi all that long.
Some of the Somaliland public are also anxious to know whether it is true that an individual from Mogadishu called Abdi-Nur Ahmed Darman was involved in the arrangements made for the Abu Dhabi visit to materialize.
The government has until now refrained from responding to strong rumors that the purpose of the president’s visit to the U.A.E was to discuss a joint plan by the Arab League and the new UN envoy for Somalia, Wald Abdalla, to bring peacekeepers from Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt through Berbera for deployment in Somalia.
Press reports that Mr. Rayale has bought properties in the United Arab Emirate of Sharija has also failed to solicit a response from the presidency.
Source: Somaliland Times