The Influence of Media Frames on The Public’s Perception of The 2015-16 Ethiopian Protest

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Addis Ababa University


The 2015-16 Ethiopian protest is a series of protests that started in 2015 in Oromia region and then spread in to different parts of the country mainly, Amhara region, Konso zone, and Gedeo zone. During these yearlong protests more than hundreds of deaths and property damages had been observed. During protests media are believed to play a significant role. They do not provide only information, but “by framing social and political issues in specific ways, they declare the underlying causes and likely consequences of a problem and establish criteria for evaluating potential remedies of the problem” (Johnson-Cartee, 2005, cited in Asmeret, 2013, p. 42). Considering this, examining how EBC framed the 2015-16 Ethiopian protest and whether the frames have influenced the publics’ perception of the issue was the main objective of this research. To do so, quantitative method of research was employed. Through random sampling technique 95 sample news were collected for the content analysis using EBC’s Website Archive. For the survey, 300 sample respondents were selected from three sub-cities of Addis Ababa (Yeka, Bole, and Lideta). With the help of Microsoft Excel, the selected news contents and survey responses were analyzed using frequency distribution and percentage analysis. Finally, comparison of the content analysis and survey analysis results was made to come up with the final findings. The results show that the dominant frame that EBC used to structure its news is anti-peace frame in which the news portrayed the protest as an anti-peace movement planned by anti-peace and anti-development groups to create chaos and terror. On the other hand, the public framed the protest in terms of its economic consequences. The tone of the news towards the protest was negative while respondents showed positive attitude towards it. In general, the findings show that there is incongruence between the media frames and audience frames, and the frames were not successful at influencing audiences’ perception regarding the 2015-16 Ethiopian protest. Based on the findings the researcher has recommended EBC to present a more balanced news by representing all sides of a story, especially during protest times.



Media Frames’ on Publics