Somaliland Press : the failing fourth pillar of Democracy (By: Dr- Abdikarim D Hassan)

Somaliland Press; the failing fourth pillar of Democracy.


“Democracy dies in darkness” is the slogan of the famous American newspaper the “Washington post”, and although this motto is not fundamentally correct, it holds some semblance of truth. It conveys the delusion that the western capitalist media is free, neutral and unbiased in their reporting of the facts.

It is (the Washington Post), an old influential entity of the American propaganda machine. However, because of the way news is generated in the west, the extensive experience of the leading journalists, the robustness of news quality, it has been successful in reflecting an image of impartiality and freedom. They mastered the skills of encapsulating their message with a  veneer of glamorous objectivity and factual narration while propagating misleading information embedded with subtle notes which promote interests of the ruling elite.

Media like this newspaper show admirable artistry in the way they portray an image of liberalism, freedom of expression and advocating for human rights while serving the interests of the likes of Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon; the most exploitative company in the world. this is an example of a mature and experienced press navigating along the thin line between being vocal for the principles of good governance for the benefit of the public and preserving a dependable greedy philanthropist on the leash.

A professional media is a powerful tool to direct peoples choices and sway preferences. It is a means by which society is controlled, ideas are made, and perceptions are changed by creating new images and distorting reality. Whoever dominates the media controls peoples behaviour.

Let me come back to my point. An ignorant media with no principles is much worse and dangerous than the one we just highlighted. If Somaliland collapses today as a functioning state, though it is already teetering on the brink of breakdown, the media will top the list of potential suspects. today swarms of young men lacking any significant talent or education are roaming the streets armed with visual and audio recording devices. they are searching for a sensational issue that can grab public attention and induce excitement.

For them, journalism is an act of sauntering with a camera and while shoving it into the face of some fame-craving individual, throwing the hackneyed question of ” What you will say about such and such topic or person”.  they don’t bother to research information or to act objectively about any issue of enormous importance–maybe they don’t understand what objectivity means for a journalist.

The overwhelming majority of our local media don’t have the capacity to analyse the impact of their reporting on the public; how will it affect the social cohesion; and how can it contribute in fomenting discord among different sections of the society. Poor educational achievement, absence of proper training and supervision of young journalists, meagre, or sometimes, no reliable sources of income forces many new faces to use their squeaky untamed voices as hunting gear.


There is a clear distinction between a responsible free press that can lift the lid on corruption, point-out mismanagement and abuse of authority, and advocate for good governance whilst simultaneously advancing a private agenda, whether financial or power-seeking, for some sectors of society.


Professional media outlets must strike a balance between those two often conflicting goals. as the old mantra says “Media is the fourth pillar of democracy”, and admittedly, a free press is a prerequisite for an open, tolerant society, unfortunately, our media is suffering from severe congenital anomalies that have deformed its evolution from the very beginning of its establishment till it reached the current state of inefficiency and disfigurement.


Hence, it can be asserted that, in its present condition, our media do not qualify to be the fourth pillar of our democracy. instead of casting light on the darkness of injustice that kills democracy, as Washington Post claims, they hover on frivolous issues that curtail the real problems of the country.

Despite the fact that all of our national institutions have sustained a degree of functional and structural malformation and are out of tune, each relatively to some extent, but the media is entirely out of focus and crippled.

The disruptive misconduct we see nowadays from the media can not continue forever, it warrants from them serious reassessment of their performance and reputation, before they plummet down further, and more financial and technical investment from the government.

Furthermore, a legal framework is needed in order to protect their constitutional rights, as citizens and journalists, and protect the country from the poisonous environment they create.