Puntland shuts downs 3 radio stations

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Puntland shuts downs 3 radio stations
Puntland shuts downs 3 radio stations
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) voices concern over the increasingly uncertain future of private radio stations in Puntland following the closure of three private radio stations.

Puntland on Wednesday, 3 April 2013, ordered the closure of Radio Codka Nabadda (Voce of Peace radio), Radio Daljir and 1 nation Radio in Bossasso, charging that these radio stations disobeyed orders from Puntland government by continuing to rebroadcast programmes produced by Radio stations which are based outside Puntland, namely Radio Ergo and Radio Bar Kulan.

The order to close down the radio stations was issued by Puntland Minister of Information Mohamud Aidid Dirir which asked Puntland Police Commissioner Mohamed Said Jaqanaf to immediately execute the order.

Subsequently, Divisional Commander of Puntland Police in Bari region Osman Afdalow personally delivered the order to the three radio stations and demanded to shut down the FM stations. The stations immediately effected the order and stopped broadcasting.

“We are extremely concerned about the arbitrary and hasty nature of the closure of the radio stations,” said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, President of NUSOJ Supreme Council who radio stations after the closure. “By closing down the three FM stations, the public is deprived of access to information and other programmes offered by these radio stations and dozens of media workers are facing an uncertain future.”

NUSOJ is afraid that such arbitrary action on the part of the Puntland government could set a dangerous precedent for undermining the freedom of expression in northeastern regions of Somalia. “We condemn the behavior of the authorities in this regard, and call for an immediate withdrawal of this order and the stations are allowed to resume their work”.

The Ministry of Information recently ordered the closed radio stations to cease rebroadcasting programmes from Radio Ergo and Radio Bar Kulan which are based in Nairobi, Kenya. But the Bossasso-based FM stations disregarded the order, prompting today's closure of FM stations.

NUSOJ also calls on the Ministry of Information to adopt a democratic and consultative stand in dealing with media practitioners and institutions in the broader interest of respecting and promoting freedom of expression and media freedom.