A Study on the Role of Journalistic Professionalism in Regulating and Improving Ethiopian Journalism

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Addis Ababa University


Ever since press freedom was announced in 1992, Ethiopian journalism has drawn the attention of many researchers. Many of the studies have focused on the impact of external factors, such as government and other interest groups on the press and practice of journalism. However, the influence of press and journalism itself has been very rarely studied, and this study was meant to fill this gap. Journalism in Ethiopia has suffered from a tug of war between state owned and private media as well as within the private media; this division has made the threat to press freedom twofold. This study attempted to examine the cause(s) for the division by eliciting views of media owners, directors, editors, journalists, journalists associations, and journalism educators; it also tried to examine the role of journalistic professionalism with respect to regulating and improving Ethiopian Journalism. To this end, data were gathered through in-depth interviews from key informants, who were picked up purposively and whose responses were analyzed qualitatively within the theoretical framework of Differentiation Theory, and Hallin and Mancini's Polarized Pluralist conceptual Model. II Accordingly, the 1992 unprecedented transformation of Ethiopian media land escape from state monopoly to 'liberalized' and 'privatized' media system was found to be the major cause for the division. This being the major cause, however, the study has shown that journalistic professionalism has not yet been conceived by the media practitioners as an important instrument in guarding off outsiders' pressures in general and state interference in particular.



Role of Journalistic Professionalism