Somali Islamic extremists have banned music on the airwaves, but the organisers of Somalia’s newest radio station, Bar-Kulan, ignore their death threats and music ban, reported Globe and Mail.
Because Bar-Kulan (Somali phrase for “meeting place”) refuses to obey the extremists, its 50 employees of must take precautions for their safety. They often use pseudonyms and voice-overs to protect their identities. And while the station has a network of correspondents across Somalia, along with an FM transmitter in Mogadishu, its main studio has been placed in neighbouring Kenya, where it can operate a little more freely.
Their listeners must be equally cautious. If they live in areas of Mogadishu controlled by the extremist militias, they often secretly listen to Bar-Kulan on earphones or cellphone radios, giving the impression that they’re merely having a phone conversation.
“They could get into trouble for listening to us,” Farah Lamaane, programme co-ordinator at Bar-Kulan told The Globe and Mail. “They are warned by the extremists not to listen to Bar-Kulan, but they still do. They know how to survive. So they are listening quietly and discreetly.”
The station is funded by the United Nations with a budget of 1.7 million US dollars in 2010.