Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Somalia: Shirdon Opens Consultation On Media Law

Photo: http://www.crs.gov
Eighteen media workers were killed in Somalia last year, but none of the killers has been brought to justice (file photo).

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon on Saturday (February 9th) called for input from relevant stakeholders as the government creates a new telecommunications and media law.

"The government is determined that the telecommunications and media law should be established only after wide consultation with -- and input from -- all interested parties, including the telecommunications companies and all media outlets as well as other relevant sectors," he said, according to a press release from his office.

Shirdon praised media and telecom companies for continuing to operate throughout Somalia's civil war, calling for them to shift their focus to assisting in the country's reconstruction.

Part of that obligation will include obeying future requirements to pay taxes under the new telecommunications law. "This will generate revenue for the government and with those funds we will be better able to provide necessary social services. We will be more free to choose our own spending priorities," he said.

Shirdon also condemned recent attacks on journalists. "Anyone who harms a journalist harms our society. Modern society cannot live without a free press," he said.

Minister of Information and Telecommunications Abdullahi Ilmoge Hirsi called on mobile phone providers to establish network connections between companies. At present, mobile phone users in Somalia can only call people with whom they share the same provider.

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