The freedom of expression and press freedom in Ethiopia has been persistently under attack. In a recent development, Balageru Television, broadcasting from the capital, Addis Ababa, is facing the looming threat of closure.
According to an Ethiopian Media Service (EMS) report today, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority issued what it called its final warning letter to the broadcaster. In the letter, the authority cited “multiple complaints” and “concerns” from the public regarding the content aired by Balageru Television.
The authority conducted investigations from both legal and professional perspectives. The warning letter stated that “some of the reports and programs lacked balance, credibility, and were based on unverified sources.” However, it did not specify which particular content displayed these attributes.
Furthermore, the authority claimed that certain content with a negative impact on the “peace and unity” of Ethiopia was broadcasted, allegedly violating broadcasting legislation. However, specific examples of such content were not provided.
It was also noted that the Broadcasting authority had previously engaged in discussions with the management of Balageru TV in an attempt to address the issues, but no discernible improvements were observed. The authority said it confirmed this through ongoing monitoring of the television programs.
In the final paragraph, the authority stated a last warning to Balageru TV, urging them to “operate in accordance with the agreement with the Broadcast authority and adhere to professional journalistic ethics.”
It is worth noting that several Ethiopian journalists have been detained, and press freedom has been increasingly constrained, especially following the commencement of the military campaign in the Amhara region. The Ethiopian Media Service, which previously utilized Balageru Television to broadcast its “Eletawi” program focusing on current affairs and news analysis. But it was suspended soon after the declaration of a state of emergency in the region in August of this year.
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