The Nation (Nairobi)

16 August 2010

Somalia: Radio Station Won't Take Orders

Mogadishu — Shabelle, an independent media in Mogadishu started broadcasting the programmes of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s Somali Service.

At two o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the Radio Station transmitted the distinctive tone marking the BBC's programmes in Somali language.

The Radio has continued for 24 hours broadcasting a variety of programmes on four occasions, in the afternoon, evening and early morning.The BBC Somali Service has been out of air since April this year.

At the time, Al-Shabaab, the most radical group opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, closed down the BBC's facilities in Southern Somalia, confiscated its properties and forced Somali independent media to cancel contracts with the British information outlet.

On Sunday evening, the management of Shabelle Media promised the public in Mogadishu and surrounding areas to enjoy the programme of the hugely popular BBC Somali Service.

In June, Shabelle Radio moved its station from Bakara market, a stronghold of the radical Islamist groups, namely Al-Shabaab and Hizbu Islam, to the parts of Mogadishu controlled by the government.

The local broadcaster also re-started playing music banned by the Islamists in April and refused the order not to cover celebrations on 1st July, Somalia's Independent Day.

Last week, the Islamists have accused Shabelle Media of having lost its neutrality, which was denied by the broadcaster's management.

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