Media 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.


See also: List of radio stations in Africa: Somalia

The first radio communications were started by the Italians in Mogadishu [1] in 1911: the same Guglielmo Marconi supervised the radio station messages in the capital of Italian Somalia, that were the first in all Africa.[2] Successively a public "radio service" was started (in Italian language) in 1938,[3] but was limited to broadcast only in the area of Mogadishu-Genale-Villabbruzzi.

Radio Mogadishu is the federal government-run public broadcaster. Established in 1951 in Italian Somaliland as a follow up of the "Radio Mogadiscio", it initially aired news items in both Somali and Italian.[4] The station was later modernized with Russian assistance following independence in 1960, and began offering home service in Somali, Amharic and Oromo.[5] 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.[6]

Actually there are a number of radio news agencies based in Somalia.[7] Radio is the most important and effective communication channel in the country and the most popular type of mass media.[8] 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.[7] Most radio stations in Somalia are members of Network 2013, an association of local radio stations and a forum for national media leaders.[9]

Other radio stations headquartered in Mogadishu include Mustaqbal Radio,[10] Radio Shabelle, Radio Bar-Kulan,[11] Radio Kulmiye,[12] Radio Dannan,[13] Radio Dalsan,[14] Radio Banadir,[15] Radio Maanta,[16] Gool FM,[17] Radio Xurmo,[18] and Radio Xamar, also known as Voice of Democracy.[19]

Radio stations of south central Somalia include Radio Dhusamareb, Radio Codka Nabada/Radio Abud-Waq, Codka Mudug,[20] Radio Hobyo,[21] Radio Galguduud, and Codka Gobollada Dhexe (Voice of Central Somalia).[8]

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.[22] 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.[23] Radio Gaalkacyo, formerly known as Radio Free Somalia, operates from Galkayo in the north-central Mudug province, as does Codka Nabada (Voice of Peace),[24] and Radio Hage.[8] Other radio stations broadcasting from Puntland include Radio Hikma, Radio Badhan and Somali Public Radio.[25]

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,[26] it broadcasts mostly in Somali but also features news bulletins in Amharic, Arabic and English.[8]

As of 2007, transmissions for two internationally based broadcasters were available.[7]

Horseed MediaSomali2002Bosaso
Puntland TV and RadioSomali2013Garowe
Radio GaalkacyoSomali, English1993Galkayo
Radio GaroweSomali2004Garowe
Mustaqbal RadioSomaliMarch 15, 2012Mogadishu
Risaala RadioSomaliApril 24, 2011Mogadishu
Goobjoog FMSomali, English2012Mogadishu
Radio ShabelleSomali, English2002Mogadishu
SBC RadioSomali, Arabic, English2001Bosaso
Star FM RadioSomali2005Mogadishu
Radio HiddoSomali2015Mogadishu


Somalia has one official government-run television station in addition to a number of private networks.[7] 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.[27] SNTV broadcasts 24 hours a day, and can be viewed both within Somalia and abroad via terrestrial and satellite platforms.[28] The Somaliland region also has one local government-operated TV channel, Somaliland National TV (SLNTV), which broadcasts from the provincial capital of Hargeisa.[29] Puntland TV and Radio likewise airs from Garowe.[30]

The private stations Eastern Television Network (ETN TV) and Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC TV) broadcast from Bosaso, Puntland's commercial hub.[23] Horn Cable Television (HCTV),[31] as well as Somaliland Space Channel air from Hargeisa.[32]

Two private channel re-broadcasts of Al-Jazeera and CNN are also available.[7]

There are likewise several Somali-owned private television stations headquartered abroad, which broadcast to Somalia. Among these are Somali TV of Minnesota,[33] and Dalmar TV of Columbus, Ohio.[34] Universal TV airs from London, and is the first and largest Somali television satellite network of its type.[35] Royal TV and Somali Channel TV also broadcast to Somalia from their UK studios.[36][37]

Somali Cable TVSomali2015Muqdisho
Eastern Television NetworkSomali2005Bosaso
Horn Cable TelevisionSomali2003Hargeisa
Puntland TV and RadioSomali2013Garowe
SBC TVSomali, Arabic, English2001Bosaso
Shabelle TVSomali2002Mogadishu
Somali National TelevisionSomali, Arabic, English1970sMogadishu
Goobjoog TVSomali, English2012Mogadishu

Historically the first newspapers in Somalia were printed in Italian Mogadishu in the 1930s, like the "Il Littoriale".[38] After World War II was started the newspaper "Corriere della Somalia" in Italian & English,[39] that was the main newspaper in Somalia even during the Italian Trust Territory of Somaliland when was printed in Italian with a few pages in Arab language.[40]

During the Barre regime from 1969 to 1991 there were up to five newspapers in the country. The press was at the time strictly regulated and there was very little press freedom. The newspapers were Xidigta Oktoobar (Somali language, government owned), Najmatu Oktober (Arabic language, government owned), Heegan (English language, government owned), Ogaal (Somali language, owned by ruling party), Aldaleeca (Arabic language, privately owned)[41]

At the start of the civil war all of the established newspapers collapsed together with TV and Radio channels. In the vacuum many new newspapers appeared, but many of them were connected to the fighting factions and warlords and have been seen as biased and sometimes low quality.[42]

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.

However, 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.[43]

Online news outlets covering Somalia's regions include WardheerNews,[44] Dulqaadka News Jamhuria,[45] Keydmedia Online,[46] Puntlandi,[47] Hiiraan Online,[48] Jowhar Online,[49] Bar-Kulan,[50] Saxafi Media News,[51] Waheen Media Group,[52] Dillapress,[53] JubbaLand News,[54] Somali Channel,[55] Goobjoog,[56] and Raxanreeb Online.[57]

Dalmar PressSomali2006–Mogadishu
DillapressSomali, Arabic, English2009Dilla
Garowe OnlineSomali, English2004Garowe
Horseed MediaSomali, English2002Bosaso
Mareeg Media Somali, English2002Mogadishu
Ogaal NewspaperSomali, English2005Hargeisa
Puntland PostSomali, English2001Garowe
Radio MogadishuSomali, Arabic, English2011Mogadishu
Shabelle Media NetworkSomali, English2002Mogadishu

Press freedom

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.[58] 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.[59]

Despite the “vibrant media culture” in Somalia – which hosts more than 90 media outlets and scores of websites and blogs – numerous violations aimed at journalists and political leaders are documented, including killings, attacks, arbitrary arrests and detention, intimidation, harassment, closure of media outlets, confiscation of equipment and blocking of websites[60]

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.[61] The ousted insurgents subsequently resorted to issuing death threats and targeted assassinations in order to discourage reporting on their activities.[62] 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,[63] killing a record 18 reporters during the year.[64][65] 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.[66]

In total, an estimated 49 radio, print and television reporters operating within the country died between 1992 and 2013.[67] 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.[67]

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,[68] and government courts were set up for the first time in many years.[58]

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.[58] 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.[69]

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.[70][71] 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.[67] The federal authorities also established a task force to investigate allegations of journalist harassment,[72] and facilitated talks between domestic and international media representatives for the drafting of a new Somali media law.[73]


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.[74]

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:[75]

(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.[72]

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.[76] 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,[73] including a February 18, 2013 gathering in Mogadishu that was attended by 45 media stakeholders.[76] 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.[73]

On 1 September 2014, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, the Federal Cabinet approved the new Draft Media Bill.[77] 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.[78] 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.[77]

See also


  1. Italian Mogadiscio
  2. Marconi works (in Italian)
  3. Radio Mogadiscio
  4. World radio TV handbook, (Billboard Publications., 1955), p.77.
  5. Thomas Lucien Vincent Blair, Africa: a market profile, (Praeger: 1965), p.126.
  6. SOMALIA: TNG launches "Radio Mogadishu"
  7. Central Intelligence Agency (2011). "Somalia". The World Factbook. Langley, Virginia: Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  8. Media and Telecom Landscape Guide: Somalia (PDF), Infoasaid, 27 July 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-14, retrieved 20 April 2013
  9. "Members". Network 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-12-31. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  10. Mustaqbal Radio
  11. "Bar-Kulan". Archived from the original on 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  12. Radio Kulmiye
  13. Radio Dannan
  14. Radio Dalsan
  15. Radio Banadir
  16. Radio Maanta
  17. Gool FM
  18. Radio Xurmo
  19. Radio Xamar
  20. "Codka Mudug". Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
  21. Radio Hobyo
  22. Radio Daljir
  23. Planning and Statistics Department, Puntland Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (2006). The Statistical Abstract of Bosaso Municipality. Bosaso Municipal Council. p. 58.
  24. Codka Nabada
  25. Somali Public Radio
  26. Media and Telecom Landscape Guide: Somalia (PDF), Infoasaid, 27 July 2012, p. 64, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-14, retrieved 20 April 2013
  27. "After 20 years, Somali president inaugurates national TV station". AHN. 4 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  28. "Somalia launches national TV". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  29. Somaliland National TV
  30. "Somali Media Mapping Report" (PDF). Somali Media Mapping. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  31. Horn Cable TV
  32. "Somaliland Space Channel". Archived from the original on 2013-10-27. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  33. "Somali TV of Minnesota". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  34. Dalmar TV
  35. Universal TV
  36. Royal TV
  37. Somali Channel TV
  38. "Il Littorale" on the 1938 Auto Circuit on page 5 (in Italian)
  39. Corriere della Somalia" of February 1948
  40. Corriere della Somalia: Stadio CONI; Somalia Championship in 1956 (page 3)
  41. Gaas, mohamed Husein. "mapping the somali media: an overview" (PDF). Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  42. Gaas, mohamed Husein. "mapping the somali media: an overview" (PDF). Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  43. Ahmed, Majid (11 December 2012). "Radio and electronic media edge out newspapers in Somalia". Sabahi. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
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  45. Jamhuria
  46. Keydmedia Online
  47. "Puntlandi". Archived from the original on 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  48. Hiiraan Online
  49. Jowhar Online
  50. Bar-Kulan
  51. Saxafi Media News
  52. Waaheen Media Group
  53. Dillapress
  54. JubbaLand News
  55. "Somali Channel". Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  56. [ Goobjoog]
  57. Raxanareeb Online – About
  58. Mohamed, Hamza (6 February 2013). "Fear spreads after Somali journalist jailing". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  59. "About NUSOJ". National Union of Somalia Journalists. Archived from the original on 2013-12-19.
  60. Section, United Nations News Service (2016-09-04). "UN News - UN report urges Somalia to ensure freedom of expression as it is critical to political transition". UN News Service Section. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  61. "Timeline:Attacks on journalists in Somalia |". Reuters (UK). 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  62. "Somali journalists persist in their profession despite risks". 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  63. "4 Journalists Killed in Somalia in 24 Hours". Voice of America. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
  64. "Somali poet Warsame Shire Awale killed by gunmen". BBC. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  65. Associated Press (2012-10-24). "Number of Somali journalists murdered in targeted attacks grows to 16; no arrests yet made". Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  66. "World Press Freedom Index" (PDF). Reporters Without Borders. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-13.
  67. "46 Journalists Killed in Somalia since 1992/Motive Confirmed". Committee to Protect Journalists. Archived from the original on 2019-03-27. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
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  70. "Somalia: 'Over 1,700 terrorism suspects arrested' in Mogadishu: Police". Garowe Online. 15 January 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  71. "Somalia: 730 persons detained in Mogadishu security sweep". Garowe Online. 19 January 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  72. "Somali PM launches Human Rights Task Force". Xikmo. 6 February 2013. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  73. "Consultative Workshop on the Draft Somali Media Law held in Mogadishu". Raxanreeb. 22 March 2013. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  74. "Somali government to establish communications regulatory commission". Sabahi. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  75. "The Federal Republic of Somalia - Provisional Constitution" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 24, 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  76. "Somali media law open for consultation". Daily Industry News. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  77. "Somalia: Cabinet pass new draft media law". Goobjoog. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
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