Index 2024
145/ 180
Score : 39.4
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
141/ 180
Score : 44.24
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Journalists operate in a environment of corruption and great insecurity. With more than 50 media professionals killed since 2010, Somalia remains the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa.

Media landscape

The fall of Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorship in 1991 ended the state’s monopoly on the media in Somalia. Since then, the media sector has developed and diversified despite an extremely hostile and unstable environment. Radio remains the most popular news source. Access to TV news is a largely urban phenomenon. There are two state-owned TV channels and several privately owned ones, some of which were set up by the diaspora and broadcast via satellite. Universal TV, based in London, is the best known. The print media are fading, and only two newspapers are still published in Mogadishu, the capital.

Political context

Somali journalists are often subjected to political pressure and bribery attempts. Several media outlets are directly owned by politicians, including members of Parliament, the executive branch, and even diplomats. Each federated state has its own media outlet, often regarded as local authorities’ mouthpiece.

Legal framework

The legal framework is extremely repressive. Journalists are often brought before military courts, which are used to justify prolonged detention, or civilian courts that rely on a 1964 penal code or laws that date from the military dictatorship. A moratorium on the arrests of journalists, which the authorities promised in 2020, has still not been adopted.

Economic context

In this country, among the poorest in the world, corruption is widespread and does not spare journalists or media executives. State subsidies are opaque and channelled to media outlets that favour the government.

Sociocultural context

Clan culture plays an important role in the way news and information are handled. Journalists find it difficult to provide coverage that is objective and respects a diversity of opinions. Topics regarding sexual orientation or gender are strictly taboo due to the influence of radical Islam. Al-Shabaab, linked to al-Qaeda, has its own media outlet, Radio Andalus, which broadcasts its propaganda.


Somali journalists face many dangers, including arrests, harassment, sexual assaults against female journalists and murder. Those who do not censor themselves are more likely to be targeted by al-Shabaab, primarily responsible for the killing of journalists, or to be arrested and detained arbitrarily. The authorities in Somaliland and Puntland are especially repressive and exert enormous pressure on the local media, often resorting to arbitrary detention or even torture, as was the case for three members of the privately owned TV channel Maan Media TV in 2024. These abuses are carried out with complete impunity, despite some encouraging signs in recent years, including the appointment of a special prosecutor responsible for investigating the assassinations of around 50 media professionals.

Abuses in real time in Somalia

Killed since 1st January 2024
0 journalists
0 media workers
Detained as of today
2 journalists
0 media workers