Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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Freedom of speech includes freedom of music, or, Get your G.D. hands off my radio!

The InterWorld Radio News Bulletin of Sept. 12 reports:

"Islamists who closed down a Somali radio station for playing love songs and other music have allowed it back on air. Radio Jowhar was ordered to close on Sunday because its programmes were considered un-Islamic. Radio Jowhar can now broadcast only news bulletins, readings from the Quran and Islamic lectures. The Islamists have imposed strict religious rule in Somalia since taking control of much of southern Somalia."

Background on the original shut-down of Radio Jowhar by the fundamentalists:

"Jowhar resident Ali Musse said closing the radio station was a violation of freedom. 'This directive is like the Taliban,' Musse told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. 'It is censorship against independent media and freedom of expression.'"

"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the closure on Sunday, June18, 2006 of the local sub-division of the Mogadishu based radio station, Radio Shabelle. Two journalists Mohamed Addawe and Ali Jey were briefly detained during the raid by gunmen who carried orders given by the Minister of Farming and the acting Minister of Interior, Colonel Hassan Mohammed Nur."


"Reporters Without Borders has condemned punitive measures taken by Somalia's Islamic courts against the press in the past few days, including the closure of the privately-owned Radio Jowhar and the arbitrary detention for 48 hours of Osman Adan Areys, a journalist based in the central city of Beledweyn.

"'It is painful to see that, for the Somali population, anarchy is gradually being replaced by oppression,' the press freedom organisation said. 'It is not too late for the Islamic tribunals to realise that maintaining order is not a matter of imposing prohibitions and a reign of fear.'

"Reporters Without Borders added: 'Radio Jowhar's attempts to maintain an independent editorial line in the terrible climate prevailing in Somalia deserves to be rewarded with respect, not with arbitrary closure. Similarly, journalists should not have to live in fear of being arrested by militiamen just because the facts they have reported have upset someone in authority.'

"Founded by intellectuals from different clans, Radio Jowhar is Jowhar's only privately-owned radio station. It has tried to remain editorially independent at a time when many other stations are taking sides with the different political forces fighting for power."

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