14 November 2007

Somalia: Government Asked to Explain Closure of Three Radio Stations in Two Days

press release

Reporters Without Borders today called on Somalia’s transitional government to explain why it has arbitrarily closed three independent radio stations in the past two days, breaking its promises and leaving the capital with virtually no independent news outlets.

“A government’s undertakings are still valid even in war time,” the press freedom organisation said. “The Somali civilian authorities signed a charter guaranteeing press freedom but they have clearly given way to the military forces in the capital, which are openly flouting the rights of its journalists. The public has been left in the dark, the media have been silenced one by one, and their employees have been forced underground or into exile. The consequences of this authoritarian behaviour are disastrous.”

Twenty-four hours after closing independent Radio Shabelle, Somali government forces yesterday raided the studios of two other privately-owned radio stations in Mogadishu, Radio Banadir and Radio Simba, ordering them to cease broadcasting at once. “They said the closure order concerned all the independent radio stations in Mogadishu, Simba Radio news editor Mustafa Haji told Agence France-Presse.

The federal transitional government has not commented publicly on these raids, which have coincided with a major sweep by Somali government forces supported by Ethiopian troops through the capital’s Bakara market neighbourhood in search of weapons and Islamist insurgents.

Copyright © 2007 Reporters sans Frontières. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.