Somalia - Media

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Somalia had an estimated 9,000 telephones as of 1995. Current information about radio and television stations is unavailable, since civil war has destroyed much of the telecommunications infrastructure.

As of 2001, the only radio stations were small, local access stations. Most of the country can receive transmissions from British Broadcasting. A television service, limited to the Mogadishu area, was inaugurated in 1983; it broadcasts in Somali and Arabic. However, this station was demolished during civil strife in 1991. In 2001, there were three main television stations, two in Mogadishu and one if Hargeisa. In 2000, there were 60 radios and 14 television sets for every 1,000 people. Internet service is extremely limited, with three service providers serving only 200 subscribers in 2000.

The government-controlled Somali National News Agency (SONNA) has regional offices in several major Somali towns. SONNA provides news information for radio and press, supplies information to foreign correspondents in Somalia, and publishes a daily news bulletin, Xiddigta Oktobar (October Star), in Somali and English. The government also publishes a weekly newspaper in English, Heegan , and another weekly, Horseed , in Arabic and Italian.

Freedom of speech and the press are severely limited, according to reports. Factional infighting creates an atmosphere of mistrust, and as recently as January 1997, media representatives such as comedians, actors, and journalists have been arrested, detained, or otherwise harassed. Most news comes from foreign broadcasts.

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