Shortwave plays vital roll in Somalia

I found this BBC profile on Somalia quite indicative of many countries in Africa. In light of cuts that the BBC World Service has been facing, this short article, about Somalia’s fragmented media landscape, admits that shortwave plays a vital roll in domestic news.

The TV and press sectors are weak and radio is the dominant medium. There are around 20 radio stations, but no national, domestic broadcaster. Many listeners tune to Somali-language media based abroad, in particular the BBC Somali service. The latter is available on shortwave, and via FM relays in Mogadishu (91.1), the Somaliland capital Hargeisa (89.0), and elsewhere.

They go on to say:

The Somali diaspora – in the West, the Gulf states and elsewhere – sustains a rich internet presence. But domestic web access is hampered by practicalities such as limited access to mains electricity. There were 102,000 internet users by September 2009 (Internetworldstats). In secessionist Somaliland and Puntland the authorities maintain a tight hold on broadcasting.

Shortwave listeners in Somalia, one should note, also listen to the likes of the Voice of America, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Radio France International and many others. Most of whom are facing cuts right now as national budgets are being tightened in the economic recession. To those living in Somalia, where the media is fragmented and untrustworthy, shortwave radio represents a lifeline of information.

As we mentioned in this previous post, please consider speaking up on behalf of those without a voice. Let international broadcasters and their governing bodies know how crucial shortwave services are into impoverished regions of the world.


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