Somali radio stations stopped from playing music by Islamist militants

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The majority of radio stations in Somalia have stopped playing music after orders from Islamist militants, who claim that the songs are un-Islamic. The stations reported that they complied with the ban over fears for their life.

Before the forbiddance, which includes playing all music and jingles, thirteen of the fifteen stations played music. A radio station manager said “We are using other sounds such as gunfire, the noise of the vehicles and birds to link up our programmes.” Other controllers spoke about the fear of losing listeners and advertisers due to the bans.

A BBC reporter compared the militants ban to demands from the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Somali militants issued the order 10 days ago and all but two stations have stopped playing music. The only stations not in compliance with the ban are a government controlled station and a UN-funded station based in Kenya.

Pop music is popular in Somalia and the ban has been met with heavy criticism. Militants in certain parts of the country have previously banned the watching of films and football.

Since 1991, Somalia has had no functioning government, with militants controlling large parts of the country. The government, which is backed by UN funds and troops from the African Union, only control a small part of the capital city, Mogadishu.

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