Home » Somali PM says social media critics are a threat to security, sparks concern for freedom of expression

Somali PM says social media critics are a threat to security, sparks concern for freedom of expression

by Mohamed Jibril
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Mogadishu (Hornlife) — Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, a prominent figure within Islamist circles, has embarked on a campaign against critics on social media, branding them as ‘a threat to national security’.

During a peace conference in Mogadishu attended by government officials and international partners, Prime Minister Barre singled out social media dissenters as the primary obstacle to peace.

He went as far as pinpointing the whereabouts of prominent critics, stating that they reside in the UK, US, Geneva, and various Arab countries.

“Social media presents a significant security threat to us and that is a concern I’ve previously mentioned,” he said.

“The guy who fled the violence in Somalia for places like the UK, the US, Geneva, and various Arab Gulf countries found peace and a good life there. However, rather than promoting peace, he started to dedicate his fulltime to inciting violence. That is the problem of social media,” added prime minister Hamza Abdi Barre.

This crackdown on dissent comes amidst a backdrop of restricted freedom of expression, with journalists facing attacks, arbitrary arrests, and prosecution. Media outlets have been suspended, further limiting the flow of information.

Amnesty International has previously documented systematic violations by the government against journalists and human rights defenders, with over 85 journalists murdered in the country since 1992.

Despite the risks, some journalists continue to report from exile, drawing ire from Somali authorities.

The Prime Minister’s remarks did not outline specific measures his government plans to take, but press freedom groups have voiced concerns over the implications of his statements.

There are growing fears that the government may escalate its actions against journalists critical of its policies.

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