Somali authorities detain radio journalist

 Intelligence personnel in Somalia have reportedly detained  a radio journalist, Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow without charge on allegations of spreading “false news.”

Tohow was arrested Wednesday September 26  over a report broadcast the previous day for the Mogadishu-based Radio Kulmiye. The station’s director, Burhan Dini Farah says on the morning of September 26, the journalist received a phone call from intelligence personnel, asking him to appear at a station in the state capital, Dhusamareeb. Once there, the intelligence personnel reportedly told Tohow that his report alleging that the militant group Al-Shabaab was re-grouping in parts of the state was “false news.” The journalist was then arrested and detained on allegation of spreading “false news” about the security situation of the region. 

Tohow contributes to several stations, including the London-based broadcaster Universal TV. The broadcaster’s East Africa director, Abdullahi Kulmiye Hirsi says authorities in Galmudug have told him that they would charge the journalist to court on Thursday September 27.

A government minister who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York says he was aware of the journalist’s arrest and that it was not the first time the reporter had spread “wrong information.” The minister said he was in discussions and that he hoped Tohow would be released soon, but did not specify further details.

CPJ’s Muthoki Mumo says “authorities in Galmudug should immediately release Tohow without charge, and allow journalists to work freely, especially when they report on critical issues.”

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