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Al-Shabaab administration orders closure of two radio stations in Baidoa

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is concerned about the shutdown of two media houses in Baidoa by Al-Shabaab administration.

The closure of Warsan Radio and Jubba Radio comes after the Al-Shabab administration in Bay and Bakool regions issued a decree on 21 October 2009 ordering the closure of the radio stations for an indefinite period of time. Sheikh Mahad Omar Abdikariim, head of Al-Shabaab administration in Bay and Bakool regions, signed the decree.

"The shutdown takes effect on 21 October 2009 at 7:00 a.m.," the decree read. "Failure to comply with this order will result in severe punishment, as set out by the law."

Al-Shabaab administration has already imposed severe edicts violating press freedom in the regions they control but the current order constitutes a total media blackout.

"We used to be able to negotiate with them the orders they gave us before, but I don't know what this new order of shutting down the whole radio station means," Hilal Sheik Shuayb, director of Warsan Radio, told NUSOJ.

"We condemn the closure of the radio stations in Baidoa and urge Al-Shabaab to end these acts of suppression by immediately allowing the stations to resume broadcasting," Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general said.

Jubba Radio is a newly established FM station in Baidoa, which was founded by businessmen in the diaspora. Journalists in Baidoa said that Al-Shabaab could not tolerate independent reporting by radio stations on what is going on in Kismayo and Mogadishu.

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