Somaliland government should combat China-funded Fake News and Propaganda Outlets

The Somaliland government has a responsibility to combat the spread of fake news within its borders. News organisations and social media influencers are making money by spreading Chinese-funded disinformation, and it’s time to put a stop to it.

We have allowed fake news to spread like wildfire, disrupting society and governance. Chinese money is funding “news” outlets that do nothing but spread propaganda and lies. These organisations are manipulating Somalilanders with false stories and weaponizing social media to turn citizen against citizen.

It’s time to take action. Crack down on the news organisations spreading these falsehoods. Fine them, shut them down, arrest those responsible – do whatever is necessary to curb the spread of fake news. Regulate social media companies and force them to verify stories before they are shared and make money from them. Hold them accountable for the role they play in spreading disinformation.

Some will argue regulation infringes on freedom of speech or the free market. That is nonsense. Speech that intentionally spreads lies and propaganda is not protected. And companies do not have a right to profit from the erosion of democracy and truth. Reasonable regulation, like requiring fact-checking and verification of stories, does not hamper freedom of speech – it protects it.

Somaliland’s government must take bold action to curb the spread of fake news and protect its citizens from manipulation. Crackdown on those organisations and companies responsible for this information warfare. Democracy depends on an informed public, and that is not possible when the truth itself is under attack. The time for action is now – before it’s too late. Regulate social media, punish propagandists, and defend the truth. The future of Somaliland hangs in the balance.

Kasim Abdulkadir