Somalia profile

Casualty evacuated from a bombing scene Somalia - a dangerous place for journalists

Somalia's disintegration is reflected in its fragmented and partisan media.

The media operate in a hostile environment. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist, says US-based Human Rights Watch.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists includes Somalia in its index of countries where the murders of journalists go unpunished. "Elusive armed insurgent groups have terrorised the media beyond the reach of Somalia's fragile law," it says.

Journalists and media outlets complain about intimidation at the hands of state security agencies.

Nevertheless, professionally-run media outlets have emerged - in particular, FM radios with no explicit factional links.

The TV and press sectors are weak and radio is the dominant medium. There are around 20 radio stations, but no national, domestic broadcaster.

Many listeners tune to Somali-language media based abroad, in particular the BBC Somali service. The BBC transmits on shortwave and on FM in Mogadishu (91.1), the Somaliland capital Hargeisa (89.0), and elsewhere.

Somali satellite channels are a significant part of the TV scene. Most of these are based in the UK.

Somalis abroad maintain an active online presence. But domestic web access is held back by poor infrastructure. There are more than 163,000 internet users (Internetlivestats.com, September 2014), representing 1.5 per cent of the population.

Social media use is on the rise. The most popular destinations are Twitter and Facebook. Islamists use social media to promote their aims while their opponents mount strong rebuttals.

In secessionist Somaliland and Puntland the authorities maintain a tight hold on broadcasting.

Internet/press

  • Dayniile - news website, articles in English
  • Jowhar - news website, articles in English
  • Raxanreeb - news website, articles in English
  • Mareeg - news website, articles in English
  • Somaliland Times - Somaliland, English-language weekly

Television

Radio

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