Somalia profile - Media

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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 for journalists, says Freedom House.

The Committee to Protect Journalists includes Somalia in its list of countries where the murders of journalists go unpunished. It says the militant group Al-Shabab is suspected in the majority of media murders. 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. Somali satellite channels are a significant part of the TV scene. Most of these are based in the UK.

Somalis abroad are active online but domestic web access is held back by poor infrastructure. There were 1.2 million internet users by the end of 2017 ( - around 8% of the population.

Twitter and Facebook are popular online resources. Islamists use social media for self-promotion while their opponents mount strong rebuttals.

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


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