The Ethiopian media structure could be described as state-controlled pluralism. A
limited degree of diversity does exist in the media market; however, channels with an
outpoken oppositional leaning are under pressure. Oppositional newspapers rarely
survive for more than 3 to 4 years. On the other hand, independent newspapers and
radio stations with a less controversial political outlook have proven to be stable and
could potentially survive for many years.
Journalism in the state media is marked by a submissive and foreseeable reporting
style promoting official reports and development issues. The journalistic style in the
private media is more audience friendly and to a larger degree focuses on current
events. However, there are few investigative stories, even in the private media. State
media journalists as well as their private counterparts rely heavily on self-censorship.
Issues which in one way or the other could be linked to terrorism are regarded as
particularly sensitive. Other sensitive areas to be aware of are ethnic and religious
conflict as well as inter-state tensions on the Horn of Africa and oppositional
political activity. Critiquing the ruling party is acceptable, but the criticism needs to
be balanced and limited in order to avoid repercussions.
Ethiopian authorities engage in systematic censorship targeting oppositional websites
and broadcasts emanating from the Ethiopian diaspora. Local audiences still get
access to some of the content through Facebook or similar alternative channels. The
appointment of Hailemariam Desalegn as Prime Minister after Meles Zenawi in
September 2012 has not lead to any remarkable change in Ethiopian media policy
Posted by Tadesse Yimer