Freedom of the Press

Somalia

Somalia

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

80

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

35

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

22

The Transitional Charter, as well as the constitutions of Somalia's autonomous regions, provides for press freedom, but this right is sharply restricted in practice, mainly because of continuing political instability and the inability of the Transitional National Government to effectively assert its authority over the country. The government launched its first radio station, Radio Mogadishu, in 2001, while private print and broadcast media have been rejuvenated in the last several years. Some, such as the HornAfrik radio and television stations, provide balanced and independent coverage, but many outlets are linked to the various warlords and political factions. In May, regional authorities withdrew the broadcasting license of a company in Puntland, and in June the Somaliland government banned all privately owned radio stations. Reporters continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrest, and detention in all areas of the country, and a number have been forced into exile. In October, journalists went on strike to protest the passing of a harsh new media bill by the parliament. Shortly thereafter, the president refused to sign the bill into law, and at year's end, it was being redrafted with assistance from lawyers and journalists.