Media of Somalia
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|Culture of Somalia|
Media of Somalia includes various radio, television, print and internet outlets. The federal government operates two official radio and TV networks, which exist alongside a number of private and foreign stations. Print media in the country is progressively giving way to news radio stations and online portals, as internet connectivity and access increases. In February 2013, the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication also launched a broad-based consultative process for the reformation of media legislation.
There are a number of radio news agencies based in Somalia. Radio is the most important and effective communication channel in the country and the most popular type of mass media. In total, about one short-wave and over ten private FM radio stations broadcast from the capital, with several radio stations airing from the central and southern regions and from Puntland. Most radio stations in Somalia are members of Network 2013, an association of local radio stations and a forum for national media leaders.
Radio Mogadishu is the federal government-run public broadcaster. Established in 1951 in Italian Somaliland, it initially aired news items in both Somali and Italian. The station was modernized with Russian assistance following independence in 1960, and began offering home service in Somali, Amharic and Oromo. After closing down operations in the early 1990s due to the civil war, the broadcaster was officially re-opened in the early 2000s by the Transitional National Government.
Other radio stations headquartered in Mogadishu include Mustaqbal Radio, Radio Shabelle, Radio Bar-Kulan, Radio Kulmiye, Radio Dannan, Radio Dalsan, Radio Banadir, Radio Maanta, Gool FM, Radio Xurmo, and Radio Xamar, also known as Voice of Democracy.
Radio stations of south central Somalia include Radio Dhusamareb, Radio Codka Nabada/Radio Abud-Waq, Codka Mudug, Radio Hobyo, Radio Galguduud, and Codka Gobollada Dhexe (Voice of Central Somalia).
The northeastern Puntland region has over a dozen private radio stations. Radio Garowe is based in Garowe, the state's administrative capital. Radio Daljir is Puntland's largest radio station. With a studio in Garowe and its main headquarters in Bosaso, the commercial capital of Puntland, the broadcaster's network of 7 FM transmitters reaches most of Puntland as well as part of the neighboring Galmudug region to the south. Also centered in Bosaso with its studios in Garowe is the Somali Broadcasting Corporation, Puntland's oldest and second largest private radio station. In addition, Horseed Radio, Al Xigma, and One Nation Radio have headquarters in Bosaso. Radio Gaalkacyo, formerly known as Radio Free Somalia, operates from Galkayo in the north-central Mudug province, as does Codka Nabada (Voice of Peace), and Radio Hage. Other radio stations broadcasting from Puntland include Radio Hikma, Radio Badhan and Somali Public Radio.
Additionally, the Somaliland region in the northwest has one government-operated radio station, Radio Hargeisa (Radio Somaliland). Established in 1943 in the former British Somaliland protectorate as the first Somali language station, it broadcasts mostly in Somali but also features news bulletins in Amharic, Arabic and English.
As of 2007, transmissions for two internationally based broadcasters were available.
|Puntland TV and Radio||Somali||2013||Garowe|
|Radio Gaalkacyo||Somali, English||–||Galkayo|
|Radio Mogadishu||Somali, Arabic, English||1951||Mogadishu|
|Radio Shabelle||Somali, English||2002||Mogadishu|
|SBC Radio||Somali, Arabic, English||2001||Bosaso|
Somalia has one official government-run television station in addition to a number of private networks. The Mogadishu-based Somali National Television (SNTV) is the central government-owned broadcaster. On April 4, 2011, the Ministry of Information of the Transitional Federal Government officially re-launched the station as part of an initiative to develop the national telecommunications sector. SNTV broadcasts 24 hours a day, and can be viewed both within Somalia and abroad via terrestrial and satellite platforms. The Somaliland region also has one local government-operated TV channel, Somaliland National TV (SLNTV), which broadcasts from the provincial capital of Hargeisa. Puntland TV and Radio likewise airs from Garowe.
The private stations Eastern Television Network (ETN TV) and Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC TV) broadcast from Bosaso, Puntland's commercial hub. Horn Cable Television (HCTV), as well as Somaliland Space Channel air from Hargeisa.
There are likewise several Somali-owned private television stations headquartered abroad, which broadcast to Somalia. Among these are Somali TV of Minnesota. Universal TV airs from London, and is the first and largest Somali television satellite network of its type. Royal TV and Somali Channel TV also broadcast to Somalia from their UK studios.
|Eastern Television Network||Somali||2005||Bosaso|
|Horn Cable Television||Somali||2003||Hargeisa|
|Puntland TV and Radio||Somali||2013||Garowe|
|SBC TV||Somali, Arabic, English||2001||Bosaso|
|Somali National Television||Somali, Arabic, English||1970s||Mogadishu|
|Somaliland National TV||Somali, English||2005||Hargeisa|
Print and online
In the early 2000s, print media in Somalia reached a peak in activity. Around 50 newspapers were published in Mogadishu alone during this period, including Qaran, Mogadishu Times, Sana'a, Shabelle Press, Ayaamaha, Mandeeq, Sky Sport, Goal, The Nation, Dalka, Panorama, Aayaha Nolosha, Codka Xuriyada and Xidigta Maanta. In 2003, as new free electronic media outlets started to proliferate, advertisers increasingly began switching over from print ads to radio and online commercials in order to reach more customers. A number of the broadsheets in circulation subsequently closed down operations, as they were no longer able to cover printing costs in the face of the electronic revolution. In 2012, the political Xog Doon and Xog Ogaal and Horyaal Sports were reportedly the last remaining newspapers printed in the capital. According to Issa Farah, a former editor with the Dalka broadsheet, newspaper publishing in Somalia is likely to experience a resurgence if the National Somali Printing Press is re-opened and the sector is given adequate public support.
Online news outlets covering Somalia's regions include WardheerNews, Somaliland Times, Jamhuria, Keydmedia Online, Puntlandi, Hiiraan Online, Jowhar Online, Bar-Kulan, Saxafi Media News, Waheen Media Group, Dillapress, JubbaLand News, Somali Channel, and Raxanreeb Online.
|Dillapress||Somali, Arabic, English||2009||Dilla|
|Garowe Online||Somali, English||2004||Garowe|
|Horseed Media||Somali, English||2002||Bosaso|
|Ogaal Newspaper||Somali, English||2005||Hargeisa|
|Puntland Post||Somali, English||2001||Garowe|
|Radio Mogadishu||Somali, Arabic, English||2011||Mogadishu|
|Shabelle Media Network||Somali, English||2002||Mogadishu|
After the collapse of the central government and the start of the civil war in the early 1990s, media in Somalia was essentially unregulated. Journalists had unrestricted freedom to write and publish stories without editorial oversight, and many took an active role in the conflict's propaganda battle. The National Union of Somali Journalists was formed in 2002, in response to an attempt by the short-lived Transitional National Government to re-establish regulation over the industry through what NUSOJ characterized as a "repressive" media law.
Prior to the capital Mogadishu's pacification by the Somali National Army in mid-2011, the independent Radio Shabelle and HornAfrik, among other Somali media outlets, were frequently targeted by Islamist militants. The ousted insurgents subsequently resorted to issuing death threats and targeted assassinations in order to discourage reporting on their activities. Due to frustration at the increasing number of expatriate journalists returning to the capital after the relative improvement in security, the militants in 2012 intensified their anti-media campaign, killing a record 18 reporters during the year. Reporters Without Borders cited 2012's death toll as the main reason behind its placement of Somalia at 175 in its 2013 Press Freedom Index of 179 countries, an eleven point drop in ranking from 2011.
In total, an estimated 49 radio, print and television reporters operating within the country died between 1992 and 2013. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the majority were locally-based (73%), male (96%), broadcast journalists (45%), worked on the radio (65%), and were non-freelance (82%). Most were assassinated (65%), while covering primarily war (49%) and political stories (55%). A number also received threats prior to their deaths (22%). The sources of fire were largely political action groups (50%), mainly Al-Shabaab; the assailants' affiliations were unknown in only 22% of the cases.
The Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 1, 2012, representing the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. A Federal Parliament was also formed, a new constitution was adopted, and government courts were set up for the first time in many years.
Tensions between the central authorities and journalists subsequently developed, as the government sought to establish formal regulations and standards over the previously unrestricted media industry, including clamping down on potential hate speech. In January 2013, senior Radio Dalsan reporter Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim was detained in the capital after interviewing an alleged victim of sexual assault, and tried on charges of insulting state institutions and coaxing false testimony out of the interviewee. The two were convicted by a local court in early February, with both their cases later the same month overturned by an appeals tribunal and the apex court due to lack of evidence.
In an effort to improve press mobility and security, Somali government forces assisted by AMISOM soldiers concurrently conducted several large sweeps in Mogadishu, seizing weapons and arresting 1,700 and 730 suspected Al-Shabaab associates during two separate operations. According to the CPJ, the number of slain journalists had dropped significantly by the end of 2013, with only four reporters killed during the year. The federal authorities also established a task force to investigate allegations of journalist harassment, and facilitated talks between domestic and international media representatives for the drafting of a new Somali media law.
On March 22, 2012, the Somali Cabinet unanimously approved the National Communications Act, which paves the way for the establishment of a National Communications regulator in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. The bill was passed following consultations between government representatives and communications, academic and civil society stakeholders. According to the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, the Act is expected to create an environment conducive to investment and the certainty it provides will encourage further infrastructural development, resulting in more efficient service delivery.
On August 1, 2012, a new Provisional Constitution was adopted, which includes several statutes related to the media profession. Article 16 of the supreme law assures freedom of association, with the related Articles 20, 21 and 23 guaranteeing freedom of assembly, demonstration, protest and petition, freedom of movement and residence, and freedom of trade, occupation and profession, respectively. Article 24 governs labour relations, including the right to form, join and participate in labour unions, to engage in collective bargaining, to receive protection from discrimination, harassment and segregation in the workplace, and the right to strike. Article 18 specifically pertains to freedom of expression and opinions for media workers, among others:
(1) Every person has the right to have and express their opinions and to receive and impart their opinion, information and ideas in any way.
(2) Freedom of expression includes freedom of speech, and freedom of the media, including all forms of electronic and web-based media.
(3) Every person has the right to freely express their artistic creativity, knowledge, and information gathered through research.
In February 2013, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon launched an Independent Task Force on Human Rights in order to firm up on the protection of individual rights. The 13-member committee of volunteers was formed after extensive consultations with civil society groups and the Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari. Chaired by prominent human rights attorney Maryam Yusuf Sheikh Ali, one of four women on the panel, the Task Force includes a media representative, an educator, peace activist, leaders of Somali women's organizations, senior police officers, a humanitarian campaigner, and a religious leader. It is tasked with investigating allegations of journalist intimidation and violence. At the end of its three-month mandate, the committee is scheduled to publish a report on its findings and recommended courses of action. The Task Force will eventually give way to a permanent parliamentary Human Rights Commission, which will have the capacity to investigate allegations over a longer period.
In February 2013, the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication announced that the government was opening the 2007 Somali media law for consultation. The bill had been passed by the former Transitional Federal Parliament, with little input from members of the press vis-a-vis media operation and journalistic professional standards. In an effort at reform, the ministry organized two workshops on Communication and Media to collect advice from local journalists on the drafting of a new Somali media law, including a February 18, 2013 gathering in Mogadishu that was attended by 45 media stakeholders. Several additional workshops were conducted by the National Union of Somali Journalists, after which point reporters chose a panel of media representatives to present the assembled feedback at a later conference scheduled for March 21, 2013. Also overseen by the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, the consultative meeting was held at the Aden Adde International Airport and attended by over 30 Somali media organizations, international media law experts, publishers and NGOs. It concluded with a series of recommendations for the drafting of inclusive media legislation consistent with international best practices.
On 1 September 2014, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, the Federal Cabinet approved the new Draft Media Bill. The legislation was welcomed by the National Union of Somali Journalists and other local media groups, who urged public institutions to adhere to the bill once implemented. Among other clauses, the new law proposes the establishment of an Independent Media Council. According to Minister of Information Mustaf Ali Duhulow, after having consulted with Somali journalists and directors, the media bill was put before the Federal Parliament for deliberation during its fifth legislative session.
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