Media Regulatory Bodies in Ethiopia (1991-2020)
The study investigates media regulatory bodies in Ethiopia. The research implemented a qualitative approach, mainly document analysis and in-depth interviews, whereby a purposive sampling technique was used to generate relevant data. The research finds out that more than 60 regulatory bodies, directly and indirectly, control Ethiopian media activities. The Ethiopian government established these media regulatory bodies (1991–2021). As a result, the tight control system of the Ethiopian media stems from an excessive number of regulations and regulatory bodies that have the power to control, shape, and inspect all media activities. The regulatory function prescribes the conditions that must be complied with to avoid unfair media practices and protect the government, audiences, and the public against the dangers inherent in such bad practices. In contrast, Media organizations' significant loss of independence due to the restrictive rules and regulatory bodies and journalists' self-censorship has increased. In the light of these measures, the Ethiopian media cannot ensure journalists' independence through institutional and professional accountability. As a result, media provide single-source and government-dominated information. The main recommendation of the research is that the government should suspend and revise the regulations of several regulatory bodies that discourage journalists and media houses from accessing freedom of speech and information. Therefore the government should change an unfriendly regulatory environment and a media model shift parallel with the public interest than the political economy interest.