Somalia: Rule no 1: “Music should not be aired”



Rule no 1: “Music should not be aired”

On 15 September 2009, the newly appointed Al-Shabaab information officer in Belet-Hawo town, in the Gedo region of southwestern Somalia, convened a meeting of journalists in the town and read to them a list of edicts the Al-Shabaab want to see implemented in the media.

The edicts which were presented by information officer Abdullahi Gardhuub are as follows:

1. Music should not be aired.

2. All music that has been used to advertise a commercial product or for an advertising program should be replaced by “Islamic songs” or “Anaashid”.

3. The information officer cannot be telephoned by the media or used as a source, even if 1,000 people are killed in the town, unless the officer himself calls the radio station or journalist and orders them to report as he wishes.

4. Al-Shabaab and its leadership have sworn in the name of Allah, that if any journalist or media house airs information against the Islamic administration, they shall be killed.


Similar rules were recently imposed on Radio Markabley in Bardhere town in the same region. On 22 August, the Al-Shabaab leadership convened a meeting with Radio Markabley management and presented the edicts that the radio station must eliminate all secular songs from its broadcasts, and that the station must not use any musical programmes, among a long list of other restrictions.

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IFEX – 18 September 2009:

‘NUSOJ condemns oppressive edicts targeting the media in Gedo region’

National Union of Somali Journalists

N E W S   U P D A T E

1 October 2009
Radio station closed down in Baidoa

Radio Warsan, a privately-owned FM radio station in Baidoa town in southwestern Somalia, was closed down by Al-Shabaab forces on 30 September 2009 

Al-Shabaab insurgents got into the premises of the radio station on at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and ordered that the 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.


National Union of Somali Journalists:

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Report about freedom violations in Somalia

The Annual Report of Press Freedom Violations in Somalia by the National Union of Somali Journalists, published on 28 December 2008, reveals virulent attacks on journalists including unspeakable cases of killings, arrests, injuries, ill-treatments, abduction and death threats as well as serious, sophisticated and systematic harassment and intimidation in main cities, particularly Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baidoa, Bossasso, Galkayo and Hargeisa.

Two journalists were murdered with complete impunity in Kismayo. More than 30 journalists received death threats. Since Islamic insurgents took over several towns in south-central regions of the country, at least six journalists have fled to Kenya from Kismayo in fear for their lives.

Apart from death threats, media in Gedo and the lower Jubba regions were banned from broadcasting music or songs, saying it was prohibited by the “Islamic religion”.

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BBC News – 1 October 2009:

‘Behind Somalia’s Islamist rivalry’

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