Addis Ababa August 28, 2017 Private media institutions were urged to discharge their
responsibility in supporting the national efforts in bringing development and building

While addressing a consultative forum aimed at enhancing the role of private media, Minister
of Government Communication Affairs Office, Dr. Negeri Lencho said the private media need
to contribute to the national efforts in speeding up development.

The Minister said that regardless of ownership, media are entrusted to maintain the greater
good of the public. In this regard, the role that the private media could play will be crucial.
The daylong forum discussed on two research papers which focused on the major bottlenecks
of private media institutions to carry out their responsibilities.

The first research presented by Dr. Teshager Shiferaw from Addis Ababa University School of
Journalism and Communication, noted that the private media institutions are not carrying out
their responsibilities due to various reasons.

Financial constraints, low level of capacity of professionals and inaccessibility of information
are among the major challenges mentioned as the media institutions are facing.

The research identified that most of the stories covered through these media are urban set,
which led to the marginalization of the larger public’s right to information.

Above all, few private media institutions tend to sensationalize issues that are not well built with
evidence, the research added.

According to the other research presented by Deressa Terefe, from the Ethiopian Broadcast
Authority, many of the private media institutions tend to engage in entertainment and sports
due to various factors.

Lack of access to information and professional incapability of their employees are among the
reasons that force them to heavily indulge to entertainment, it said.

Due to this, private media institutions are unable to engage in emphasizing issues that would
create national consensus and shaping the society, the research said.

Representatives of the media institutions who attended the forum for their part said that they
have encountered a number of problems while trying to discharge their responsibilities.

Lack of access to information and support from the government were among the challenges
mentioned by the participants.

In this regard, the participants urged the government to provide them necessary support
including finance, capacity building and access to information in order to enhance their role.

They also stressed on the need that the government should consider minimizing the tax on
imported media equipments.

While closing the forum, Speaker of the House of Peoples Representatives, Abadula Gemeda
said every measure will be taken to create a media that boldly fights poor governance and
work to strengthen democratization.

He noted that the ongoing national media reform that the government is carrying out to bring
change to the media sector and similar consultative forums would bring the desired change.

Currently there are 10 radio stations, 18 private newspapers and 43 magazines that are
licensed by the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority.