These members of the media refused to provide a mouthpiece for propaganda. There’s something you don’t see every day. An update on this story. “Somali radio reporters walk out after Islamist takeover,” from BBC News, September 23:
Somali journalists have walked out of a radio station recently seized by Islamists in the capital, Mogadishu.
The staff at GBC said they refused to take orders from Hizbul Islam militants.
Previously, Hizbul Islam had allowed private radios to operate in their territory, only banning music, which they regard as unIslamic.
In Mogadishu, at least 19 people have been killed in heavy fighting, ahead of a crisis summit on Somalia at the UN.
Correspondents say radio stations provide a vital source of information for Mogadishu residents, who need to be constantly updated on which areas are unsafe.
It is, of course, in the jihadists’ interest to suppress even this basic information, or allow it only selectively. Besides, a terrified, demoralized, exhausted population is more inclined to submit.
The journalists from GBC, which was popular for its broadcasts of international football matches, said they had been ordered to refer to the government as “apostate”.
The “apostate” government is therefore, according to Islamic law and Muhammad’s own instructions, lawful for slaughter.
“We defied because we do not want to lose our impartiality,” one of the reporters said, asking not to be named for security reasons.
A newly established free media group Federation of Somali journalists has condemned Hizbul Islam’s interference.
“It is unacceptable and part of the ongoing violations against the independence and the impartiality of the private media,” said its deputy chairman Abdi Haji Gobdoon.