Assessment of Media Development in Tigray

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Addis Ababa University


The research, “Assessment of Media Development in Tigray”, focused on measuring media development based on the UNESCO‟s MDI. The pillars of the assessment are regulation and practice of freedom of expression, transparency of media ownership, media as a platform of democratic discourse, professional capacity building as well as capacity of media infrastructure. It also examined the relationship among the media development measures through binary logistic regression statistical measure, SPSS. A combination of quantitative questionnaire survey and qualitative; in-depth personal interview and FGD are employed. From the total 552 total population of media and media support professionals in Tigray 232 participated in the questionnaire survey and 26 in the in-depth interview. Likewise, Tigray, Kunama and Irob ethnic communities participated in three FGDs. Stratified sampling was employed for quantitative questionnaire survey while purposive sampling used for in-depth interview and FGDs. Based on the findings, freedom of expression is guaranteed in Ethiopian constitution and media related proclamations. But there is no official media policy at national and regional level. Moreover, the access to information proclamation is less critical to come-up with accountability measures for denial and delay of access to information. Above and beyond, 60% of respondents stated that the heavy tax levied on media and media technologies challenged the development of media. Further, government monopoly of the printing press, high cost of paper, less protection for confidential sources are also drawbacks of the media. Besides, 68% responded economic dependence of the media on government funding sources halted the diversity of media and media content. The private media are too weak in their institutional arrangements and are challenged by lack of information as well as economic and political pressures. Likewise, the media in Tigray are less accessible to rural societies and ethnic co-cultures. Limitations in professional capacity of media practioners, although 64% of journalists and 77% of media managers in Tigray graduated in fields other than journalism; unavailability of evening and extension journalism classes, less contextualized journalism regular class courses, less consultancy engagements of journalism scholars in the media and limitations in media technology equipments are also the challenges of media development in Tigray. Finally, based on the finding regarding the relationship among the indicators, the degree of presence of censorship has negative relationship with content diversity. The presence of censorship and self-censorship resulted in decrease in diversity of media content in Tigray. Placement of advertisement by the state is in favor of the state media that resulted significant double increase (OR=2.195) in the media economic dependence in government revenue sources. And lastly, the influence of political interest of the governing party has negative (OR=0.786) relationship with the variety of political spectrum reflected by media. Thus, among other factors, political interest of the governing party in Tigray influenced diversity of content that resulted in less media attention on different views in the political spectrum.