Comparative Analysis of Press Freedom Practice Before and After the “Reform” : Case Study on Addis Zemen Newspaper

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Addis Ababa University


The main purpose of the current study is to assess how press freedom has been exercised before and after Abiy Ahmed was appointment as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. It also aims at examining particularly how state owned media practice it freedom of reporting and writing without government intervention. One state owned media (Addis Zemen) newspaper was selected as a case study. Based on purposive sampling technique, one of the reasons is it‟s the only daily newspaper owned by the state. Qualitative content (textual analyses) was employed to collect and analyze the news stories. In depth individual interviews were applied to collect data from two editors, one editor in chief and three reporters from the newspaper as well as veteran journalist and scholar from the field. Two year sampling period was taken (one year before and one year after coming of Abiy) for news analysis. This period was selected because much repressive or restriction were happening on press before the coming of Abiy and after “reform” as the political and economy structure changed, the government promises to give more emphasis on building democracy system that enables to give press freedom. From this period a total of 14 stories which published at political column of the newspaper were purposely selected and analyzed. Diversity perspectives, tone, balancing source, critique and government propagandas are the major theme of the discussion. The finding of this study discovered that the selected state owned print media Addis Zemen newspaper news reporting after “reform” was the same as after reform. Both before and after the reform the newspaper faced lack of information accessibility, lack of diversity viewpoints, lack of critique, serves for government propaganda, lack of investigative issues, censorship and intervention of government. The result of study also indicated thatthe press freedomin state owned media before and after the reformdidn't show visible change.The government should have commitment to freedom of expression and the press thereby giving attention to the implementation of the press law.