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Posted on Thursday, 11 July 2013 16:37

Somalia raises minimum journalist age to 40

By Sean Williams

The committee that made the decision was chaired by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid/Photo©ReutersSomalia, with a history of repressing journalism, has set the minimum age at 40 for anyone intending to practice as a journalist in the country.

 

Information minister Abdullahi Ilmoge Hirsi announced the decision today, made by a committee chaired by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid.

"We invited the Somalia media and journalists last February to a meeting, which the government asked them their ideas and views towards the new law that has been passed today by the cabinet ministers," said Mr Hirsi.

"They (journalists) came up with their clues and ideas last May, then we included them, so this law is what they have suggested"

The new law has angered Somali journalists.

"What the government have done is unacceptable and against freedom of speech," says Nur Hassan, a 25-year-old former BBC journalist from Mogadishu, currently exiled in Nairobi after death threats from terror group Al Shabaab.

"This law cannot improve the Somali media future," adds Hassan. "They are ruining my future and they are ruining the profession."

Today's news is a further setback from the Somali press, which is already among the most endangered in the world.

Last Sunday Liban Abdullahi Farah of the Somali Broadcasting Corporation became the fifth Somali journalist to be killed in 2013.

In total 22 journalists have lost their lives in Somalia this year.

Somalia's fledgling government has come under criticism for increasingly autocratic rule since its historic recognition by the US and International Monetary Fund last year.

The prime minister has refused greater scrutiny of alleged corruption, while deadly incursions by Al Shabaab into the government's seat of Mogadishu has also weakened its standing.



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