Somalia: IFJ says government must end attacks on radio stations

Jun. 07, 2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said the Somalia government must put end to its policy of media harassment and intimidation after authorities shut down three radio stations in Mogadishu for the third time this year over allegations they were backing terrorists.

We condemn this continuous harassment by the Somali government on media who try to work independently, said Gabriel Baglo, the IFJ Africa Office Director. We call on the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union to work with our colleagues to ensure the Somali Transitional Federal Government puts an end to this intimidation and continuous attacks on press freedom.

The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) today issued a decree ordering the closure of three FM stations in Mogadishu: Shabelle Media Network, Horn Afrik and Holy Quran. The TFG accused the three stations of backing terrorists and creating hostilities in the country.

The three media outlets were already shut down by the government twice this year in January and March for allegedly broadcasting biased reports on the political situation in the country. They were closed along with the local office of Al Jazeera Television, which has not resumed operation since March.

According to Shabelle Media Network, a government decree ordered Radio Warsan in Baidoa in South-Central Somalia to shut down two days ago.

We were distressed by the order of closing down the radio stations as an unanticipated act, and we demand an immediate and sensible explanations from the Transitional Government on the closure of the radio stations,” said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries

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