Somali radio station reopens, journalists freed

Published on Friday 18th April 2008

Somalia, Apr 18: After few hours of closer Somali authorities have released five journalists and allowed their radio station is back on the air Friday, the reporters said on Friday.


Somali police arrested five journalist for covering fighting between government troops and insurgents and force to shut down their radio station earlier. The Radio Voice Peace journalists were released overnight hours after they were detained for the station?s coverage of an attack on Wednesday night by Islamist insurgents in Mogadishu?s KM4 neighbourhood. The station was back on the air on Friday after the journalists were released late on Thursday. Police had stormed the Radio Voice of Peace newsroom earlier on Thursday, shutting it down and arresting the five. The station reported that the rebels had overpowered Somali police in the attack, thus annoying the government, staff members said. "The journalists were released last night after discussions with Somali government officials. They are free now and we are starting our broadcasting normally," said Mohamed Ali Irole, the station?s director. "None of us was harmed, we were released by the police commissioner," added Shafi Islow, the station?s editor who was among those arrested yesterday. Government officials have not commented on the arrests, but they have in the past cracked down on radio stations that report incidents where the soldiers are defeated. Since relocating to Mogadishu at the start of 2007, the government has raided and temporarily closed most of the city's nine private radio stations at some point, accusing them of siding with Islamists waging a bloody insurgency against it. International press watchdogs have chided the weak Somali government for its heavy-handed crackdown on free media. The war-wracked Horn of Africa nation is ranked as the world?s second deadliest country for journalists by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Mogadishu has been wracked by violence between Ethiopian-backed government forces and Islamist insurgents since late 2006. The country itself has been lawless since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. #