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Transitional government threatens to close down radio stations for complying with insurgents' ultimatum

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 18 April 2010 - The National Union of Somali Journalist (NUSOJ) is alarmed by the new threats from the regional Administration of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) to silence radio stations in the government-controlled areas.

In a press conference held in Mogadishu on Sunday, 18 April 2010, Abdikafi Hilowle Osman, the General Secretary of Banadir Regional Administration, which also administers Mogadishu city for the TFG, threatened that they will close down the radio stations that complied with the music ban from the Hisbul Islam insurgents.

This week, at least 14 radio stations halted music in Mogadishu, heeding an ultimatum from the Hisbul Islam insurgent group that ordered the radio stations in Mogadishu to cease broadcasting music and songs. Most of the independent radio stations in Mogadishu acted in accordance with the order out of concern for their safety.

"The media is not a combat zone. This is a very disheartening statement. It is absolutely absurd and shameful for the regional administration and transitional government that such an official makes this ill-fated threat to media that is already suffering from oppression and manipulation," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Abdikafi Hilowle Osman said that "they will not tolerate the four radio stations that halted airing music and songs in the government-controlled area." He added, "We consider that these radio stations are working with insurgents and will be closed down," he told reporters in a press conference held in Mogadishu on 18 April.

"Silencing the radio stations in the TFG-controlled area by TFG forces and its administrations puts them on the same page as cruel extremists. The administration should immediately withdraw this threat and the TFG should make its position public on this threat, otherwise its silence will be deemed as acceptance of this official's position," Omar Faruk Osman added.

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