Somalia: Shabelle Media Network Back On Air

Regulation & Policy

Following four days of closure, Shabelle Media Network, Horn Afrik and Holy Koran radio stations have been reopened after the Somalia transitional government has given their chairmen the consent to go on air again on Sunday afternoon.

The CEOs of the three Mogadishu based independent FM stations and four members of the Somali government officials led by the information minister, Madobe Nunow, have convened in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, on Sunday, discussing what sparked the shut down of the stations. The minister said the decree to close down the radios was originated from the Somalia National Security Department, stressing that he only approved it.

Mohammed Amin, Shabelle representative in that meeting said the minister promised that his information department would be fully engaged in going on with Somali media. “There were no further discussions in the closed door conference. Madobe Nunow has merely announced that we can on air again,” he said.

In an interview with Shabelle, Michael Ranneberger, US ambassador to Kenya, said he was pleased that the radios have gone on air. “The media in Somalia are very essential to the national reconciliation congress and therefore their reopening is so important,” he said. Ranneberger stated that he contacted Somalia president Abdulahi Yusuf and premier, Ali Gedi, over allowing the independent media in the country to operate freely.

The Somali government ordered the closure the radio stations after major military operations were carried out by Somalia and Ethiopian troops who confiscated caches of weapons and extracted number of Somalis from their homes after they were suspected of links with the defeated Islamists.

(Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), 10 June 2007)