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Does Somaliland’s national TV belong to the nation or UDUB?
Hargeysa, Somaliland, July 14, 2007 (SL Times) – The government owned State National TV (SLNTV) Director General, Muhammad Muse Deria, held a press conference, two weeks ago, at the Hargeysa `Zambezi restaurant’ to tackle a number of contentious issues relating to the opposition, parliament and the legal status of a new political party which the government says is illegal.
The Director General (DG) of the state run SLNTV, in his public address to the media said, "First, I would like to inform you all [media], that I am holding this press conference as an executive committee member of the ruling party `UDUB' and what I say should not to be interpreted as the policies of SLNTV. I would like to inform, the opposition parties that they will be given equal access to SLTV, just like the access given to them by other media outlets. The staff at SLTV will always be ready on standby for them, whether they come to SLTV center or SLTV crew visits them at their headquarters or homes.”
Deria added that there were certain issues that he had to address, among them "was to advice the two opposition parties (KULMIYE and UCID), that they should be cautious in what they say to the public; because they (the opposition) want to someday lead this country, and should not occupy themselves with controversial issues and destructive politicking.”
The second issue that the head of the government tv station head talked about was the ‘Qaran political Party’ which was recently formed by Dr Gaboose and others.
"If Gaboose believes that the law will allow an additional political party to take part in elections, let him tell us what happened to his Sahan party and the two other parties which could not meet the 20% vote of local-government elections in order to qualify for the presidential elections," Mr Deria inquired.
"I, myself, was a member of Sahan before it was knocked out of the local-government 2003 elections. Sahan party had to be disbanded and its members joined the three parties which made it to the run up of the presidential elections. I joined Udub. I urge Dr. Gabose not to confuse the public and renounce this illegal political party. The law is clear, only three national parties can exist in the country. You are free to join any one of the three national parties, the pick is yours," Deria declared.
The SLTV Director General made a scathing attack on the former minister of Commerce and Industry in Rayale's administration, Muhammad Hashi Elmi, who is one of Qaran party's leaders.
The DG elaborated: "Elmi, you never tire of wanting to become the president of this country. Your hunger for this goes back a long way. You tried to get the chairmanship of the SNM in `Bali Gubadle' town (1989) and failed.
And then in 1997 you were a candidate for the 1997 Somaliland presidency but you got only 2 miserable votes out of the 300 delegates in Hargeysa who voted for president Egal's second term as the president of Somaliland. How then will you be able to gain the confidence of the 3 million people in Somaliland?"
Mr Deria chastised the lower house of parliament and its MPs by saying that the parliament is full of people from the Diaspora and if they do not stop wreaking havoc in our parliament and do not think of how while they were learning foreign languages abroad, this country was rebuilt from dust, they should then go back to Europe and North American and live off handouts and leave us alone.”
Mr Deria continued to excoriate Parliament: "How these MPs continue to sit in sessions with the corrupt parliament chair committee? Are they fools who are blind to the unlawful manner the committee chair has usurped the house rules? The chair has blatantly refused to comply with the constitution and the very house rules that they claim to uphold."
After completing his speech, Mr Deria was asked a few questions by the media.
Media: "Don't you think it's a bit odd that you being the Director General of the state national television, a civil servant, that you unashamedly and publicly have been critical of the opposition parties in this very press conference, and doesn’t this say a lot about SLTV?"
Muhammad M Deria: "Maybe you did not hear me properly when I said in the beginning of my speech that I am speaking as an executive committee member of UDUB party, and the state television network (SLTV) is there for the opposition whenever they want, and SLTV is ready to broadcast opposition press statements and conferences, SLTV is there for them and the nation".
Media: "You have said you are a member of the executive committee of UDUB, the ruling party of the government. And, for the past 15 minutes you have been criticizing the opposition. How can SLTV, the state government run national television network, which you are the Director General of, be nonpartisan and broadcast a balanced and impartial coverage of the opposition and UDUB party?"
Muhammad M Deria: "I am telling you that SLTV is always, at any time and place prepared to broadcast the opposition’s policies and press releases.”
Media: "Mr. Director General, in this press conference, you said from now on SLTV will broadcast issues raised by the opposition. Is this not an acknowledgement that previously, SLTV never gave an impartial coverage of the opposition?"
Muhammad M Deria: "No, it's not like that. Only last Thursday, we invited the opposition to take part in a TV debate. They did not turn up. SLTV has no problems with the opposition; it's they who have a problem with SLTV.
Source: Somaliland Times