Insurgent groups in Somalia ban BBC, VOA, and music on FM radio stations (updated).

Posted: 10 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"Harakat Al-Shabab Mujahideen has Friday banned the activities of local FM radio stations of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the Somali capital Mogadishu and all southern Somalia. A press release issued by Harakat Al-shabab Mujahideen from its information affairs office said that the administration ad also prohibited formally for listening the BBC news and programs. Press Release: 'Mogadishu, from today, H (24/04/1431) all FM stations of the BBC in the areas under the control of Islamists would be off aired and its devices/instruments would be taken over. ... Ultimately, Harakat Al-shabab Mujahideen warns the local FM radios who have contracts and contacts with both BBC and Voice Of America (VOA) not to release their news and programs began from today, on (24/04/1431) Hijria.'" Shabelle Media Network, 9 April 2010.
     "Radio stations broadcasting out of Somalia face a dilemma this month after a powerful Islamist militant group ordered them to stop playing music. Saying that the playing of music was un-Islamic, Hizbul-Islam announced on Saturday that stations had 10 days to take it off air. The punishment for failing to comply was not specified but 11 radio stations based in the capital, Mogadishu, are thought to be directly affected. If they drop music, they stand to lose listeners. If they ignore the warning, they face the wrath of the militants." Patrick Jackson, BBC News, 7 April 2010.
     Update: "The BBC's broadcasts have been taken off the FM bandwidth, but are still available on shortwave and the internet. In response to the statement, the head of BBC Africa, Jerry Timmins, said the organisation spoke to all sides in the conflict, including al-Shabab, adhered to strict standards of impartiality and editorial independence and rejected any suggestion otherwise." BBC News, 9 April 2010.
     "VOA issued a statement Friday afternoon saying, 'VOA regrets this decision. We believe broadcasting news and information on FM stations serves the Somali people.'" Michael Onyiego, VOA News, 9 April 2010.
     Protested by National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), 9 April 2010, the Hayaan Media Development Center, 9 April 2010, and Reporters sans frontières, 9 April 2010.
     "Somalis living in al Shabaab-held territories confirmed that BBC had gone off air on local frequencies but said programming could still be picked up on short wave." Reuters, 9 April 2010.