Digital Journalism Literacy and Community
As the break-away republic of Somaliland has held its elections on Monday, 13 November Somaliland started ordering its telecommunication companies to block social media from 13 November 2017 until election results are declared.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media sites has already been blocked. The Commission said the shutdown is necessary to avoid rumours and spread of fake news.
The action to block the social media from the population of Somaliland shows undemocratic way that the regime is holding its elections while hiding the facts on the ground. Top human rights and civil society organizations have today submitted serious petition to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision banning social media.
As part of an outcome, journalists, regional and international organizations will not be able to know the situations behind the curtain. Somaliland is a breakaway piece of land still being part of Somalia. Somaliland seeks recognition from the United Nations but still Somaliland seems joining global totalitarian regimes because it insists that they alone know what is true.
As we know, when these actions of blocking social media happens it harms everyone, perhaps even millions of people at a given time. Hurling citizens into darkness “for their protection” is a grossly irresponsible choice for governments to make. The media attention and organizing power of social networks serves to get people engaged, motivated, and visible. The government should not seek to stop that. They should seek to prevent protest and demonstration from spilling into violence. Blocking access to social networks will not aid in that endeavor..
Yesterday we journalists have talked to civil society about their view on government blocking the social media and one activist says: “There is no legal basis for the Electoral Commission to shut down the social media. We are very concerned by this new development which will set a bad precedent..”
Guleid Ahmed Jama is a chairperson of Human Rights Centre and he belives in that in a democratic nation, somebody do not shut down social media on an election day. He says that it is neither reasonable nor legal. This will limit freedom of expression, freedom of media and access to information. Guleid called on the National Electoral Commission of Somaliland to withdraw its order and let the people exercise their fundamental freedom of expression.
Somaliland is currently under global surveillance as its administration struggles to attract global eyes whether they deserve to be recognized as a full government or it should remain a dissident region.
Many feared that this continueus acts might be able to overwhelm Africa’s democratic peoples and governments. That fear proved to be unjustified because, by the end of the twentieth century, no country in the world practiced a full–blown totalitarian form of governance.
As history writes, In the twentieth century, a new kind of autocracy emerged. Using the tools of modern transportation, communication, surveillance, and psychology, men such as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao were able to control millions of peoples’ lives in ways that would have been unthinkable or impossible in previous centuries.
The political innovations of these men introduced a new type of governing that was given the label “totalitarian.” Vicious, aggressive, and ideological, totalitarianism created its own morality. Mobilizing their citizens through propaganda and thought control, totalitarian leaders appeared to be intent on dominating other parts of the world as well as reshaping their own countries. In every case, totalitarian leaders were aggressively anti–democratic and anti–religious. They allowed no space for individual thought or criticism. Consequently, they allowed no room for an appeal either to individual liberties or to supernatural truth.
In November 2016, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights raised concerns over, “the emerging practice of State Parties of interrupting or limiting access to telecommunications services such as the Internet, social media, and messaging services, increasingly during elections,” and called on governments to guarantee, respect, and protect citizens’ rights to freedom of information and expression through access to Internet services.
On their website Human Rights Watch warns Somaliland has the chance to conduct elections in a manner that promotes genuine participation. It should step back from taking measures that would thwart this.
Somaliland indepth: What are we (journalists) openly investigating?
1-Somaliland owns the the biggest money transfer company in Africa ‘Dahabshiil’
Dahabshiil, is a big money remittance company. The total remitted annually is believed to be about $1.3bn (£830m), It is owned by a Somalilandese family. Dahabshiil gives out half of Somalia’s national income, this act which dwarfs international aid. Dahabshiil was founded by Mr Mohamed Saeed Duale in 1970, but some time in the Somalian civil-war many investigatives pieces blamed Dahabshiil company of money laundering, terror financing and the company aiding to continue devastating the Southern part of Somalia so that the Norther part of the nation call for a successful recognition of secession.
2-Somaliland (Northern part of Somalia) family established what we call today’s terrific terrorism organization (Al-Shabaab) this organization until now shakes the Horn and East African nations. Somaliland authorities are not asked why they sponsor the group. Ahmed Godane (killed by Drone air-strike) was sent from Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland to fight in the Southern parts of Somalia to pave the way for smart government of Somaliland to be able to break-away. Ahmed’s terror organization is causing mayhem in Somalia.
3- Vigilance by the region: Somaliland breakaway republic continuation of reaching out East Africa region as a whole while convulsing the systems in these countries. The region took decision that all sections encouraging instability in the region shut down immediately. The closure of the remittance companies was part of efforts to tame terrorism in the region. “These wide-ranging efforts include the freezing of all accounts suspected to have links to the masterminds of the terrorist attacks. In Kenya, members of the public were signaled to be more vigilant to help forestall any acts of terrorism or security breaches, 11 cabinet secretaries in Kenya said in the statement read by defence CS Raychael Omam in 2015.
The traders using the named money transfer companies were asked to instead use commercial banks as the state clamps down on possible revenue sources and systems that facilitate terror activities in the country. Laura Hammond, a development expert at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies says: “It creates a black hole for accountability, because while sending a money to Somalia it is a perfect opportunity for those who want to fund terrorism or enable money laundering.
However, Somaliland political struggle and war in Northern part of Somalia started during Siyad Barre when he deemed their opposition seditious and ordered the northern rebel army calling itself the Somali National Movement (SNM) be immediate rounded up.
When Siad Barre was overthrown the Somalilandese group develop more than ever their business and political leaders begun processing a government of their own. They warn if not recognized more fire and pressure for the Horn and East African region.