Somali president Mohamed Farmaajo Wednesday signed into a law an amended version of the country’s Media Law following three years of debate on the law.
The law which seeks to regulate media practice in the Horn of Africa country was passed by the Lower House in May 2017 and subsequently by the Upper House in January 2020.
The changes followed complaints from local journalists and international rights groups which described the law as ‘draconian’ and ‘oppressive’.
Information Minister Abdi Mareye said in a statement following the president’s assent the passage and adoption of the law was a major milestone in mainstreaming and regulating media practice in the country.
“The President has instructed me to point out this law becomes a life document that the government and the media will continue with consultations,” said Mareye.
He added that the law was a product of wide consultations which began in 2016 when the law came into force.
The Act among others creates the National Media Commission which shall be tasked with regulating media practice in the country.
It is made up of nine members; three from the government, three from media organisations and a similar number from the civil society.
The passage of the law comes amid increasing cases of arrests and sentencing of journalists in the country drawing sharp criticism locally and internationally.