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JOURNALISTS STRIKE OVER "DRACONIAN" MEDIA LAW

The president of Somalia's transitional government, Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, has refused to sign a controversial media law following a strike by the country's journalists that has left all but one media outlet closed, reports IRIN News.

The journalists went on strike on 2 October to protest a "draconian" law the Somali Parliament recently passed which prohibits the publication of anything against so-called "common interests," say the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).

The law, which does not come into effect until the president signs it, also prohibits the publication of anything "against Islam, unity, the politics of the country, the security of the state or the social affairs of the people," IFJ adds. Publications that defy the ban risk having their licenses taken away.

In response to the journalists' strike, President Hassan has called for the creation of a committee to address the journalists' concerns and amend the sections of the media law that have aroused controversy, IRIN reports. Somalia's media consists of seven radio stations, more than 20 newspapers and two television stations.

Visit these links:

- IFJ: www.ifj.org">http://www.ifj.org/publications/press/pr/424.html">www.ifj.org

- RSF: www.rsf.org">http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=3951">www.rsf.org

- International Press Institute 2001 Report on Somalia: www.freemedia.at">http://www.freemedia.at/wpfr/world.html">www.freemedia.at

- Committee to Protect Journalists' 2001 Report on Somalia: www.cpj.org


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