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Somaliland has held several competitive and multiparty elections that have been cited by international election monitors as being "free and fair." While political competition has been tolerated, or even encouraged by the governments in power, there has been a continued reluctance to allow private radio stations. Citing the possibility of destabilizing Somaliland's delicate peace, arguments against the liberalization of the media include concerns of radios used to further political polarization, mobilize groups to escalate simmering conflicts and violence, and the capacity of the government to regulate media outlets. This article locates these arguments against media liberalization in the context of Somaliland's larger nation- and state-building project suggesting that in transitions from war to peace, no matter how prolonged, there are very real concerns about processes of institutionalization and the sequencing of democratic reforms. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Eastern African Studies

Publication Date





239 - 257