Development Journalism in Ethiopia: Examining the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation’s Watchdogging Role of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

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Addis Ababa University


The central focus of this study is on assessing the effects of the practice of ‘development journalism’ model of media functioning in the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on its wider roles as a watchdog in the protection and enhancement of fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Specifically, this thesis attempts to assess the media policy of the country and the programs produced by EBC which fits the watchdogging role of fundamental rights and freedoms in their content with nine key informants’ ideas to show how the development journalism approach in practice has been affecting the quality of EBC’s presentation of human rights issues accurately and persistently. The study employed mixed approach, both qualitative and quantitative. The researcher used both primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data were elicited through in-depth interviews with key informants whereas secondary data were gathered from sources like books, articles, official documents and other pertinent publications. Selected programs produced by EBC-1 were also examined. After examining the ‘development journalism’ policy documents of a country, ascertaining the view of key informants, content analysis of selected programs of EBC-1 productions and other written documents, the study has come up with the following findings. The Ethiopian ‘development journalism’ policy document didn’t consider watchdogging role of the EBC (state media) as a noble role that media could play. It considered such media as instrument to achieve development. It framed EBC to stand with government policies and strategies, and initiate the public to participate in development endeavors of the government. The watchdogging role of fundamental rights and freedoms is negatively understood. Hence, most of program presentations in EBC are positively discharged, even though there are many defects in the country which needs to be covered. The EBC’s coverage of human rights issues and ability of entertain diverse opinion is weak. The approach of reporting is also top-down approach. However, the study also showed that EBC has been producing some productions which are playing role in protection and promotion of human rights like Aend Le Aend (one to one) program, and some sessions of its documentary series. But, such programs are subject to frequent interruption and change. Under this situation the challenges like, absence of editorial independence, inadequate budgeting for investigative programs, lack of professional journalists, self-censorship … preclude EBC from performing watchdogging role of fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.



Rights and Freedoms,Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation’s,Journalism In Ethiopia