The Process of Gate keeping in Broadcast Advertising: A Case Study of the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA)

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Addis Ababa University


This study examines the gatekeeping process of broadcast advertisements. It tries to explore the basic principles of gate keeping of the broadcast advertisements in Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), identifies the major challenges in the process and explores how ERTA defines its media responsibility role in relation to selection criteria of advertisements. I use the qualitative research methodology for the data analysis. Purposive and snow ball sampling techniques used in the research. In-depth interview, observation and documents are main data gathering techniques that I used for the research. Social responsibility theory is the major theoretical frame work used for the research, which "emphasized freedom, it holds that responsibility is necessarily a partner to freedom in institutional behavior". In the advertisement selection process, the gatekeepers in ERTA refer to the advertising manual of the institution. Legal and ethical frameworks; marketing concerns and respect to institutional policies are the grounds for advertising gatekeeping of ERTA. The major forms of gatekeeping are categorized as reviewing advertising content, checking production quality, cost of air-time and placement. Un-updated advertising manual, lack or limited training, the pressure of the customers on the gatekeepers, dominated personal interpretations, problem of technical quality control, the disparity of execution between advertising manual and editorial policy of ERTA are some of the challenges of advertising gatekeeping. The research findings show that there are inconsistent decisions over advertisements; some contents and forms of advertisements do not have the parameter in the advertising manual of the institution; the advertisers and advertising agencies give little or no attention to ethical and legal obligations; ERTA did not publicize its advertising manual to its customers; unhealthy relation between advertising agencies and ERTA; no code of advertising ethics; and the absence of advertising law at the national level are among the findings of the study.



Ethiopian Radio and Television, Agency, ERTA