Somalia: Media law in the absence of a state
Somalia is often described as ‘lawless’ or ‘the world’s most failed state’, a characterization that overlooks the way law and governance actually works in the absence of a capable central government. This article will explore the role of xeer law, or customary law, in regulating media, including both older media, such as poetry, and newer media, such as mobile phones, in Somalia’s complex legal environment. While Somalia remains one of the most dangerous regions of the world for journalists, dozens of radio stations are broadcasting in South-Central Somalia and there is a competitive newspaper industry in Somaliland. In addition, the telecoms industry is booming with some of the best connections and lowest rates on the continent for the internet and mobile phones. Various authorities govern media and resolve conflicts across the Somali territories. To understand media ‘law’ in this region we must look beyond the formal state structures.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Oxford
Publication date: 2012-09-01
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