The Ethiopian Mass Media Authority plans to amend the advertisement law to increase the share of advertisements out of the total content of newspapers and magazines from 60 percent to 80 percent, while reducing the total amount of advertising in an hour of broadcasting for state broadcasters from the existing 12 minutes.
The existing advertisement law prohibits print media outlets from dedicating more than 40 percent of their publication to non-advertisement contents, including news, features and Op-Ed, while allocating the rest to commercials.
“This is outlined under the new media policy and it targets strengthening the print media industry,” said Gizaw Tesfaye, senior advisor at the Authority.
During a panel discussion held in the presence of stakeholders at Capital Hotel last Tuesday, participants commended the Authority’s decision citing the closure of many media outlets over the last decade due to financial constraints.
Currently, there are 13 newspapers and 12 magazines owned by private companies. Another 13 state-owned newspapers and 10 magazines are in circulation, according to the new media policy app.
While proposing to increase the ad share of print media outlets, the Authority is working to reduce the 12 minutes of commercials allotted by public broadcasters in an hour. However, the exact number of minutes to be allotted for commercials is yet to be decided.
This is to avoid unfair competition in the market and distribute commercials across broadcasters, sources say. It is also expected to avoid current practices whereby government institutions run commercials only on state-owned broadcasters.
“Such amendments, which will be implemented based on the new media policy, will help ensure fair competition between the public and the commercial media,” said Gizaw.
On February 2021, the Parliament approved a new media law that will govern print, broadcast and online media. Furthermore, it allows foreigners to invest in the media industry, though their stake must not exceed 25 percent.