Somaliland and Universal TV: Was It Just a Harmless Comedy Sketch?

Robleh Mohamud Lafcanbe — Recently, Universal TV aired a comedy sketch of President Silanyo in a show titled “Faaliyaha Qaranka”. Subsequently, the Minister of Information of Somaliland held a press conference condemning Universal’s actions and revoked their operating licence in Somaliland.
Editorial Keydmedia Online
Somaliland and Universal TV: Was It Just a Harmless Comedy Sketch?

Universal TV and journalism organizations have claimed that the clip was merely a joke and should not be taken seriously and have criticized the government’s stance. On the other hand, the people of Somaliland feel that this was a direct insult towards the President and the country as a whole.

Which argument seems reasonable and was it just a harmless comedy sketch as they claim?

Clearly, the sketch of President Silanyo was below the belt and more than just a harmless comedy sketch. The clip tried to portray the President as an ineffective aging leader who cannot run his government. Universal TV disrespected President Silanyo as a democratically elected leader and as a Somali Elder.

Universal and journalism organizations claim that this type of journalism takes place often in the western world and should be accepted. Indeed it is accepted, but one must understand that Western culture and Somali culture are completely different. To argue such point would also mean that they are also welcoming of many acts of the western world that go against the cultural and religious beliefs of Somali people. There are many things that are a part of Western culture – that I don’t have to name - that go against the cultural and religious beliefs of Somali’s. If its disrespectful comedy sketches today, then we will eventually see lies/scandals and damaging stories that are inflicted upon Somali leaders.

The clip also underlyingly displayed Somaliland as a federal state of Somalia. Ahmed Madobe of Jubaland and Abdirahman Faroole of Puntland were similarly made fun of on different occasions while the President of Somalia has yet to appear on the program.  Why did the Mogadishu-based Universal TV poke fun at President Silanyo before their own President? Clearly it seems that they view Somaliland and its political system equal to that of Jubaland State and Puntland State. That itself is another reason why Universal deserves its ban as they disrespected the views and beliefs of the Somaliland people – 23 years as an independent nation.

I strongly believe that every media organization has the right to run independently and for journalists to feel safe and practice their profession freely. But I don

Editorial 29 April 2022 13:51

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