Somalia: Mogadishu Mayor Closes Radio Station Over Interview With Opposition

Regulation & Policy

RSF condemns the 26 December 2007 arbitrary closure of the privately-owned radio station Somaliweyn by the government of Banadir, the province that includes the capital Mogadishu, after the station broadcast an interview in which an exile politician explained why he was joining the radical, armed wing of the opposition. The closure is the latest in a series of coercive measures for which there has been no legal authority, RSF said.

The closure was ordered by Mohamed Omar Habeb, a former warlord also known as "Mohamed Dhere" who is now Mogadishu "mayor" and head of the provincial administration. He contacted the station directly, ordered it to stop broadcasting and told its management to report to his office. Dhere used to be the governor of Jowhar.

Based in Mogadishu's northern suburbs, Somaliweyn is owned by exile businessmen. The interview that upset Dhere was with Moallim Hashi, a member of the Alliance for a New Liberation of Somalia, which groups the former Islamic courts and former Somali parliamentarians. Hashi gave his reasons for joining the "Shaabab," the radical military wing of the Eritrean-based Islamist opposition.

(International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto), 31 December 2007)