Mass media development in Somalia

Authored by: Ismail Sheikh Yusuf Ahmed

Routledge Handbook on Arab Media

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138385481
eBook ISBN: 9780429427084
Adobe ISBN:


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The history and evolution of mass media in Somalia began in the colonial era when radio and newspapers were established and operated by the British and Italian colonial administrations in the early 1940s. After the country achieved independence and until the 1990s, there was only one state-owned radio station available to Somali audiences. After nine years of civil war that broke out following the overthrow of the military regime in 1991, a surge in the creation of new private radio stations was observed, allowing the public to hear both sides of the stories presented. During the civil war, the media environment was unregulated and influenced by various political factions and warlords. While television is relatively newer than radio stations and newspapers, its viewership is significantly increasing in major cities and diaspora communities. Mass media platforms, particularly radio stations and newspapers, are believed to have contributed to the civil war by siding with one of the fighting factions and publishing news and articles that enflamed hate and conflict. Although there are hundreds of mass media platforms, both traditional and new, currently available in the country, the enrollment in media studies programs in universities and colleges remains limited nationwide. This negatively influences the media industry, as the newly enacted media law requires professionals in the field to hold at least a university degree.

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