Addis Ababa April 11/2019 Ethiopian media have to properly exploit the existing relative openness of media space in accordance to rules and regulations to promote the ongoing reforms and efforts towards the stability of the country, Media experts said.
Dr. Getachew Dinku, Lecturer at School of Journalism in Addis Ababa University, told ENA that the media have to act with responsibility for more constructive and solutions-focused reporting to spur people towards positive social change.
The media houses and the journalists have to develop the culture of dialogue and forward critiques when things are going wrong but also accent the positive moves made by the government and the media itself.
He pointed out that the media need to conduct professional survey and hold power to account. Groups or individuals should abide with media laws, rules and regulations, he underscored.
“The freedom of press and its positive impact doesn’t come over night. Ethiopian press has been experiencing dark journey for so many years. So, it takes time and the government has to remain considerate and calm,” Dr. Getachew added.
For Mohammed Ademo, who’s Media and Political Commentator, the media has been sharply divided as much as the country’s politics. The media were acting for or against the government. There was no middle ground.
“As a result, we don’t have vibrant media organizations or institutions with capacity and resources to deliver a kind of investigative journalism like in many other media outlets,” he affirmed.
Accordingly, when you are trying to act only for the survival of the media you cannot have a powerful media that can make the government accountable and also show alternative ways, policies and directions.
In the last one year, the government has tried to open up to the media so that it can play its role. Mohammed added that “the new Prime Minister explicitly talked about the importance of media. So the space is open but I don’t think we have been using that open space for the past year”.
But for the Blogger Abel Wabella the media has been trying its best to utilize the opportunity for the past one year despite its difficulties operating freely because of the hangover from the past political system.
He added alongside opening up the space, the government has to improve its stance on creating equitable and fair opportunity both for public and private media outlets in terms of providing sponsorship facilities to build their capacity.
Editor In-Chief for Gulelle Post Magazine, Wubishet Taye, said the press has undergone severe treatments over the past decades. So, the past one year could be taken as the transition period both for the politics and media.
The media has to also to give due attention for stabilizing the country as a priority before anything else. Stable nation and free media can effectively complement each other and cannot be viewed separately, he noted.
“Freedom of expression does not mean lawlessness. Everything has its rights and obligations. Nothing operates without law in the world, so the media and the journalists are obliged to act based on laws on the ground”, he stressed.
The media should also act like the fourth state not to act like for or against the government. Media should stand by its own power to serve the general public, according to Wubishet.
Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office last year, imprisoned journalists were freed and exiled pro-opposition media and journalists returned home. The government unblocked hundreds of mainly opposition web sites.