New guideline by the Ethiopian Media Authority seeks to open access to information in the country to media outlets to undertake investigative journalism
Ethiopia’s Media Authority on Sunday said that it is working on a guideline to hold authorities who deny information to media accounts.
The Proposal intends, based on the report from state media – Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, authorities who make the process of obtaining information bureaucratic could also be held accountable for it.
Deressa Terefew, Director of the Broadcast Authority, says when the guideline is complete and enters the implementation stage, it will support investigative journalism.
The authority is also making it a requirement for media entities in the country to commit themselves to investigative journalism. It will be part of the deal with the authority.
Furthermore, the authority said that it commits itself to creating a forum for media institutions to discuss challenges they experienced when the guideline starts getting implemented.
Corruption has been rampant in Ethiopia since the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) took power in 1991. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has also been struggling with system-wide corruption and bad governance.
In one of his parliamentary appearances this year, the Prime Minister heralded the coming of investigative journalism and that authorities will have to be cooperative.
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Good news and now it is up to the users to make sure they don’t do anything stupid and irresponsible just to end up jeopardizing the nation and its citizens. Freedom of information comes with a heavy load of responsibility. Those who have made the choice for the profession of journalism as their life defining career should also learn the arts of self censorship. One of the burning issues that have been eating at the hearts of the entire continent of Africa in general and our old country in particular is corruption. Call it grafting, rent seeking or whatever it has been a debilitating malfeasance that has been keeping citizens in backwardness and abject poverty for decades and in our case since the 1970’s. Let’s face it. Leaks and alleged discovery of corruption are and can be excellent revenue generators for those who make a living as journalists. That means these individuals and outfits they own/manage have their careers tailored upon how much they talk and write. The more they talk and write about leaks and news of malfeasance real or imagined can be easy cash cow. In this day and age of social media anyone can be a ‘journalist’. It is that easy gravy. I can see it myself in my own community how connivers take advantage of the love we have for those people who produced us all and turn that into a lucrative money making scheme for them. They leave me scratching my head wondering if these are the products of the same upright people we know firsthand.