Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© The Author(s) 2018. This chapter critically examines the relevance of mainstream methods for assessing media freedom in countries where the state has limited authority. The case of the Somali territories illustrates the challenges of applying normative perspectives of how the media, and law, should be to how it operates in practice. Media across the Somali territories is both robust and pervasive, and intertwined with complex legal structures that are often regarded as ‘informal’. The chapter considers several case studies of disputes involving ICTs and explores how they were resolved with legal tools available to the parties, which differs across the region. An alternative approach, termed a ‘diagnostic’, is proposed to assess and understand media systems, while accounting for the informality that is often overlooked.

Original publication





Book title

The Palgrave Handbook of Media and Communication Research in Africa

Publication Date



297 - 309