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Radio station closed down, two journalists arrested

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is concerned by the shutdown of a privately-owned radio station in Baidoa town, southwestern Somalia, and the arrest of its director and news editor.

Al-Shabaab forces in Baidoa got into the premises of Radio Warsan on 30 September 2009 at around 4:00 p.m. (local time) and ordered that the FM station be turned off, an order which was effective immediately. Al-Shabaab also ordered Hilal Sheik Shueyb, director of the radio station, and Mohamed Aden Dhaysane, news editor, to be arrested and immediately taken to jail.

According to Radio Warsan journalists, Al-Shabaab accused the radio station of defying their order to not air songs and music. Radio Warsan was also criticized for not relaying Adhan (the Islamic call to prayer), which was called out by a Sheik in a Baidoa mosque.

"These edicts are beyond the reality. They are a blatant violation of freedom of the press. The closure is deplorable. The arrest of Hilal and Mohamed is barbaric and unacceptable," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

"The two journalists must be freed immediately and without any conditions or any further danger to their lives. Radio Warsan has to resume its operations immediately without any restriction," Osman added.
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