All but two of Mogadishu’s 13 radio stations have silenced their music programming under orders from the Islamic insurgents, including the militant groups The Shebab and Hizbul-Islam.
Even the musical jingles played before news, education and other programs were banned. In addition, bells in schools were ordered shut down under the pretense that they sound similar to church bells.
"The bell they ring to summon students for classes is illegal in Islam. We know that ringing bells is a sign of the Christian churches," Sheik Farah Kalar, senior Shebab official, told reporters in Jowhar.
The stations said they had to comply with the ban or put their lives at risk, according to the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA).
Islamist militants control large parts of Somali territory. The transitional government (TGF), backed by African Union troops and U.N. funds, controls only a small part of Mogadishu, the capital.
Abdulahi Yasin Jama, head of radio Tusmo, said that instead of music they are using other sounds such as gunfire, the noise of vehicles, and birds as a break between programs and news. Sounds of chicken or horses have also been used.
TGF Information Minister Dahir Mohamud Ghelle called the music bans an abuse of freedom of the press. He invited affected broadcasters to set up stations in areas controlled by the TGF.