Sabahi (Washington, DC)

15 March 2013

Somalia: Puntland Bans Three Humanitarian Radio Stations

The government of Puntland has banned humanitarian radio stations Radio Ergo, Radio Hirad and Radio Bar-Kulan, Somalia's RBC Radio reported Friday (March 15th).

Nairobi-based Radio Ergo is supported by the Danish organisation International Media Support (IMS). Radio Hirad, based in Hargeisa, is supported by Dutch organisation Free Press Unlimited. Radio Bar-Kulan is a United Nations-funded public broadcasting service based in Nairobi and Mogadishu.

The three radio stations have been active in promoting dialogue, peace and development, as well as disseminating information during natural disasters.

"No radio station can reproduce or air any materials and programmes of a media station that is not licensed under the ministry," the Puntland Ministry of Information said in a decree released Wednesday, signed by Minister Mohamoud Aideed Dirir.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) called the ministry's action a violation of the Puntland constitution and the Somali federal provisional constitution.

"Journalists and media stations here in Puntland cannot accept draconian and repressive rules which the ministry wants to impose and silence the independent media," said NUSOJ Supreme Council President Burhaan Ahmed Dahir.

The Puntland government introduced a new media law in December 2012, which media organisations have criticised as repressive.

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