Somalia Islamists shut down two radio stations

19:57, October 21, 2009      

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The Islamist rulers of southern Somali town of Baidoa on Wednesday ordered the closure of two local radio stations for an indefinite time.

In a decree issued by the local Al Shabaab appointed Islamist administration, the two local independent FM radio stations, Warsan and Jubba, were ordered to halt their transmission "until further notice".

"If you fail to comply with the order to close the stations you will face severe punishment in accordance with the law," the decree said.

The Islamists administrators did not say why they decided to close down the stations in Baidoa, the provincial capital of Bay region, 245 km southwest of Mogadishu.

Local journalists advocate group, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), condemned the closure of the radio stations as "acts of suppression', calling for immediate resumption of the radios' programs.

"We condemn this act of closing down the radio stations in Baidoa and Al-Shabab must end these acts of suppression by immediately allowing the radio stations for resumption," Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary General said in a statement.

Al Shabaab, considered by Somali government as a terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda, controls much of southern Somalia and wants to establish a Islamic state which implements stricter version of Islamic law in Somalia.

Local and international media watchdogs consider Somalia as one of the worst places for journalists to operate as nearly 20 journalists have been killed since January 2008.

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