Shades of the Taliban: Somali Radio Stations Stop Playing Music and Jingles

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Afraid of violent consequences if they did not comply, most radio stations in Somalia have agreed to stop playing music—or even jingles—as ordered by Hizbul-Islam insurgents who believe the tunes are un-Islamic. Fourteen of the country’s 15 radio stations halted their music programming this week, and have replaced introductions to news and other segments with an odd collections of sound bites. These include roaring engines, car horns, animal noises and flowing water.

The only stations Somalis can turn to for music are government-controlled broadcasts and those from a Kenya-based UN-funded radio station that has an FM transmitter in the capital of Mogadishu.
What passes for a central government these days is backed by African Union troops and UN funds, and controls only a small part of Mogadishu. The country has lacked a strong central authority since 1991.
The imposition of restrictions on music by Hizbul-Islam is reminiscent of the policies carried out by the Taliban when they controlled much of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Somali Radio Stations Halt Music (by Mohammed Ibrahim, New York Times)


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