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PM orders ministers to seek clearance on public communication

Storyline:National News
Prime Minister Hassan Khaire following proceedings during his approval by Parliament March 1, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Prime Minister Hassan Khaire has issued a gag order on all ministers against direct communication with the media without clearance from his office following the Barire killings communication fiasco which left government ministers reading from different scripts.

In a memo signed by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Ahmed Guled which Goobjoog News has established authenticity, the PM read the riot act to the ministers in what appears to be a move aimed at coherent public messaging.

“All cabinet ministers whom this document is directed to are informed to solicit a prior permission from the office of the Prime Minister when utilizing the social media, radio FMs, televisions and everything that relates to news broadcasting by sharing the topic that relate to the government,” the memo read.

RE: Military operation that left government at odds in pushing a coherent message

The PM also warned ministers against using the social media ‘to comment on sensitive political matters at this moment’.

The memo comes two days after the government was forced to pull down statements in the social media and issue corrections following the military operation in Barire, Lower Shabelle which the government has now acknowledged civilians were killed. In his first statement Friday afternoon, Information Minister Abdirhaman Yarisow said those killed in the operation were Al-Shabaab elements. He later issued another statement noting the government had established civilians could have been killed.

Defense minister Abdullahi Mohamed later told the media security forces confronted armed men who refused to surrender their weapons leading to exchange of fire and subsequent killings.

Foreign Affairs minister Yusuf Garad posted a statement on his Facebook page from Mozambique claiming there were two operations in which civilians could have been in one.

Constitutional Affairs minister Abdi Hosh survived a no confidence in motion in parliament last month following Twitter post in which he questioned a parliamentary vote which sought to annul a court verdict on contested seats in the 2016/17 elections.