Somalia’s recent ban on TikTok, 1XBet and Telegram is unconstitutional – experts argue. According to the Somali Digest’s sources, the Federal Government of Somalia’s (FGS) decision to curb the dissemination of what it called ‘indecent content’ and terrorist propaganda by banning some of the popular internet platforms does not have support in the country’s Constitution.
Mogadishu, SOMALIA. By the Editorial Team:
The country’s Minister of Communications & Technology, Jama Hassan Khalif, announced Sunday a ban on TikTok, Telegram, and the betting website 1XBet. “The Minister of Communications orders internet companies to stop the aforementioned applications, which terrorists and immoral groups use to spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public.” Internet service providers had until today to comply with the ban.
However, experts noticed that Article 10 of Somalia’s Provisional Constitution, which the government used to justify its controversial decision, is irrelevant to the directive.
The Ministry’s directive reads:
“Based on the ongoing violations of the Somali community by terrorist organizations, which have affected the safety and stability of the community and violate Article 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia, which defines the duty to protect human dignity, the Minister of Communications and Technology instructs the companies that provide internet services to stop the following websites (Applications) that the terrorists & groups responsible for immorality use to spread horrific images and mislead the public.”
The concerned Article 10
Article 10 of Somalia’s Constitution, which addresses human dignity, consists of three paragraphs:
If the Ministry refers to point number (2), it tries to imply that TikTok, Telegram and 1XBet violate human dignity. Therefore, they are subject to banning. Such a claim would be on the verge of ridiculous. Moreover, the article doesn’t give the Ministry the power to employ censorship, using the argument of ‘indecent content’ and terrorist propaganda. If Article 10 is the basis of this directive, the directive is inevitably unconstitutional.
Puntland refused the implementation
The State of Puntland has refused to implement the directive, claiming that the government in Mogadishu cannot force it on them. “Communications companies do not have to carry out and can not carry out orders from Mogadishu,” Puntland’s Minister of Information Mohamud Ayidi Dirir said.
While the terrorist group al-Shabaab frequently uses social platforms, including TikTok and Telegram, it remains unclear what precisely the Somali Ministry meant by the other “immoral groups spreading horrific images”. The ban has raised questions about its real intentions, as experts point out that it cannot in any way affect the terrorists’ propaganda.