Garowe (PP News Desk) — Puntland Goverment media liason officers held a meeting today with representatives from the local media organisations in Garowe.

At the very outset the liason officer appointed to brief journalists at the meeting made it clear that only Puntland State Government media staff will be allowed to cover the consultative conference and will have the responsibility to share with the local media images from the conference.

President Said Deni: Has he appointed censors at the Puntland Consultative Conference?

The consultative conference to start tomorrow in Garowe comprises discussion sessions to which local private media correspondents will not have access.

The decision to deny local private media organisations the privilege to cover the conference sends the wrong message. Puntland Government will censor reports on discussions. Puntland Government media staff will release reports cleared by the media liaison officers.

“Puntland Government sets the conference agenda and moderates discussions. This gives it the power to enforce rules about what to discuss and how” says a journalist working for a news website in Garowe. “We have to quote participants of discussions. If we report what they tell us we might face arrest”.

Last week Puntland State Police Commissioner Brigadier General Muhiyaddin Ahmed Musse vowed to be tough with media organisations whose reports expose government misdemeanours.

“The aim to grant participation privileges only to Puntland Government media staff smacks of a desire to mislead the public about the conference agenda, which President Said Deni described in February as consultative and transparent” Issa Ali, a media commentator told Puntland Post.

© Puntland Post, 2020