The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today vigorously condemned the decision of the Hizbul Islam group on Tuesday 13 April 2010 to force fourteen private radio stations based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu to stop airing music after a ten-day ultimatum.
“We condemn this order which is a direct interference in media affairs designed to control media output,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “We are outraged by the lack of reaction from the international community to end the chaos in Somalia”
The insurgent group, Hizbul Islam, ordered radio stations to stop broadcasting music which the group called “un-Islamic” and set Tuesday, 13th April as the deadline to comply. In other parts of the country, the insurgents have taken over or shut down some radio stations, reports say.
According to the local Radio Stations, Hizbul Islam officials telephoned some of the stations to remind them of the deadline and warned them of dire consequence should they fail to comply. The stations have expressed fear of life-threatening retaliation acts by the group.
Last week, Al Shabaab, the most powerful insurgent group in Somalia, said it was banning foreign programmes including broadcast by the BBC and Voice of America, calling them Western propaganda that violated Islam.
“The media in Mogadishu has become a defenseless victim of all sorts of suppression, abuse and brutality,” said Omar Faruk Osman, General Secretary of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate. “But what is most disappointing is that those who claim to be friends of Somalia and Somalis have continued to watch from a distance at these horrific oppressions and heinous crimes including the killing of journalists with impunity without putting in the necessary effort to restore law and order” he added.
The IFJ renews its call to the International Community for specific action for Somalia and urges the Somali authorities to give top priority to the safety and the security of Somali journalists in order to guarantee press freedom in the country.
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87 +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide