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Somaliland Bans BBC Broadcasts

FILE - The entrance to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) building is seen in White City in western London, Oct. 29, 2008.

Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, has announced it will ban broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BCC).

Information Minister Saleban Yusuf Ali Koore, speaking to reporters on Tuesday in the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, said the BBC had maligned the identity and dignity of the self-declared independent nation.

Koore accused the BBC of bias and acting against the independence of Somaliland. He said the ban would go into effect immediately.

Somaliland is a former British protectorate and breakaway region of northern Somalia that declared independence in 1991 after Somalia descended into a civil war. It remains unrecognized by Somalia or any other country.

Meanwhile, in Somalia, journalists and media houses are facing new dangers.

A reporter and a cameraman working for Arlaadi media, a Mogadishu radio and TV station, were arrested on Monday by security forces, according to station director Ahmed Ali Nuur.

Nuur said the journalist and photographer were attacked, fired at with live bullets, beaten and arrested. Their equipment was taken and some of it destroyed. Nuur said no information has been provided as to why the men were attacked, but the journalists deserve justice.

Abshir Mohamed Nur Farasa, one of the journalists who was assaulted, said he was reporting on street damage caused by recent rains in Mogadishu when he was beaten at gunpoint by security officers. After they were beaten, Farasa said, the officers took the cameraman to the police station and destroyed his equipment.

Somali police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan told VOA that the police took immediate action after the incident and arrested one of the people who assaulted the journalists. Hassan said it is possible that individuals dressed in security forces uniforms are creating problems in Wadajir district.

Somalia is one of deadliest countries for journalists in the world, with more than 50 media workers killed since 2010. Reporters Without Borders ranks Somalia as the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa.