Ethiopia: Zooming in On Media’s Role Towards National Dialogue Success

Some managers of the privately owned and state-run media said their respective outlets have given considerable coverage to the National Dialogue and discharging responsibility in creating national consensus on Ethiopia’s major issues.

Speaking to the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA), Ahadu Television and Radio Chief Executive Officer Tibebu Belete said the outlet has been raising strong topics and addressing the public’s areas of challenges that could serve as the input for National Dialogue.

Attaching extensive coverage to the National Dialogue Commission activities, Ahadu helps to communicate the issue at grass root level and informs its diverse audience about the need for deliberation and consultation. “The role of the media (in line with the dialogue) should be shaping public opinion that could lead to national consensus.”

“Since the 1974 Revolution, Ethiopia has been passing through rampant political and ideological antagonism that claims the lives of many intellectual citizens that would have greatly contributed to its progress. Sadly, political crises and violent disputes are still ravaging the country.”

“The number of victims of political and social unrest is also surprisingly large and many people sustained physical and psychological trauma. Many others were also displaced from their homes. So, I think the National Dialogue will be a solution to the problem that triggered all these unfortunate events from its roots. “

“How long will we lose lives due to the absence of peaceful mechanisms of disagreements? Hence, the national dialogue would never be an alternative; but rather a crucial step to determine Ethiopia’s stability.”

Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) Chief Executive Officer Admasu Damtew also explained the news media’s engagement in providing timely information about the National Dialogue and playing a due role in agenda setting. “The mass media is the podium of dialogue and it is expected to facilitate the public discussions and debates on the issue.

Cognizant of the National Dialogue’s importance for better Ethiopia, FBC would maintain its extensive coverage of the commission’s activities in both news and program and would serve as the forum for public discussion, Admasu added.

For his part, Oromia Media Corporation General Director Gizachew Gebisa said the media should actively engage in publicizing the preliminary processes of the National Dialogue. The media’s role starts with informing the public about the National Dialogue Proclamation. So, the mission of the dialogue commission would be achieved if the media discharges its responsibility.

“To produce stories and make interviews about the dialogue, media professionals are expected to have basic information on the subject. We have been broadcasting the National Dialogue with 18 domestic languages.”


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