A Study of the Views of Government Media Professionals on Agenda Setting With Respect to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Issues

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Addis Ababa University


In Ethiopia, where development is a big agenda, the mass media intervention is very significant to sustain development and achieve societal quality of life. To shape development needs and to raise community participation in development activities of the government the state-owned media also play an important role. This, in fact, is determined by the capacity of the news media agenda setting practice. The mass media give appropriate prominence to development priorities of the public and transmit the salience concepts and practices of positive development achievements.Accordingly, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) issues should also be considered as development challenges and media agenda. This is because it is confirmed that 60% of diseases in the country are due to water, sanitation and hygiene related, and the media also have social responsibility to make the situation media agenda to influence the public. This research focuses on the views of government media professionals on agenda setting with respect to WASH issues. The study focused on Ethiopian Television and Addis Zemen newspaper practice of agenda setting pertinent to WASH issues. Through a series of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, the researcher analyzed how journalists work with the media agenda setting theory and related literatures. Editorial policies and guidelines were observed in to the analyses and discussion of the study. The findings of this study indicated that journalists views, both editors and reporters working in Ethiopian government media outlets, perceived as practicing agenda setting with respect to WASH issues. Journalists from ETV and Addis Zemen recognized their media agenda to be government policies, laws and strategies. The findings also showed that in the government media houses WASH issues as media agenda mostly set by top level media managers; and it was driven by events. In this regard, the participation of reporters in agenda setting process was very limited according to the findings of the study. The research also indicated that most of the study interviewees and discussants knowledge on WASH issues were very low.



Government Media Professionals, Agenda Setting With Respect to Water, Hygiene Issues