News: Media houses should refrain from spreading ‘hate speech and fake news’: Ethiopian Media Authority

Mohammed Idris, EMA Director-General; Image courtesy of ENA

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba: The Ethiopian Media Authority (EMA) was reported to have stated that media establishments found to be ‘forgoing of national interest and peace shattering’ would be held accountable. 

Mohammed Idris, Director General of EMA, was quoted as saying, ‘’ even though media houses are expected to deliver timely news, priority should be given to national interest and preserving communal peace and security. He added that during times of national distress, spreading information that could potentially benefit ‘enemy forces’ should be avoided and work should be done to deliver the society from the dilemmas being experienced. 

In a contextualization of the warning, the director-general stressed that Ethiopia is facing challenges and for the country to emerge victorious, the media should play a supportive role. Similarly, Admasu Damtaw and Niguessie Mengesha (Ph.D.), chief executives of Fana Broadcasting Network (FBC) and Walta TV, respectively, emphasized that media should never compromise national interests. 

This comes in the backdrop of renewed fighting between Tigrayan forces and the Federal Government of Ethiopia (FGoE) despite months-long attempts to achieve an official ceasefire and end an intermittent war that began in November 2020. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had remarked that at least 63 journalists and media personalities had been jailed since the eruption of the Northern Civil War two years ago. The committee noted journalists coming out with a differing reporting narrative to that of the government in regards to the war were exposed to the plausibility of arrest and some even had to shut their offices down. 

Addis Standard has been covering the arrests of journalists in relation to the war in Northern Ethiopia. International media outlets had been reporting on the arrest of journalists and expulsion of foreign reporters in connection with the war as in the case of New York Times journalist, Simon Marks’s expulsion, but also extended to sharing of ‘sensitive national issues’ as per the EMA, causing the revocation of press license of Tom Gardner, the Economist resident Ethiopia reporter. AS

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