History of Radio Ethiopia from 1974 to 2000

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Addis Ababa University


In Ethiopia, radio broadcast was established by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1933. Since its establishment, radio broadcast had played significant role in delivering information to the masses, thereby, it contributes its share in the over-all progress of the country. The present study attempts to explore the contribution of radio broadcast in the social, political, professional and economic progress of the country in the period from 1974 to 2000. Applying qualitative historical method of data analysis and cross-examining the available secondary and primary sources, the study highlights the so far ignored positive role of radio broadcast in societal progress. Though the study focuses on the period from 1974 to 2000, it also tries to shed light on the history of the radio broadcasting before that period. Radio Ethiopia started its broadcast in 1935. In 1936, the Ethiopian patriots damaged the radio telegraphic station. Thus, the Italian established new radio station at the center of Addis Ababa. This radio station was destroyed by the fascist Italians in 1941 when they evacuated the country. Soon after the liberation, the British military force started to repair the broadcasting work in Ethiopia and started regular programs. Because of high illiteracy rate in Ethiopia, radio broadcasting has been serving as a better means of disseminating information to the societies than other forms of media outlets. By using different national and international languages, it has broadcasted various programs that foster social, economic, professional and political developments of the country. Radio has also served as the best tool to create awareness among the society concerning internal and international social, economic and political issues. It also linked Ethiopia with the outside world.Radio Ethiopia has largely been depicted as a propaganda instrument of the government in power. As a public media one cannot deny that Radio Ethiopia has been a mouth piece of government. Notwithstanding such claims, the core argument of my thesis is that even under difficult circumstances Radio Ethiopia has contributed considerably in enhancing professional, institutional and journalistic developments. It played significant role in creating political, economic, social and cultural awareness, which directly or indirectly served as an engine of change.