Ethiopian opposition political parties have failed to use newspaper columns in their election campaigns, newspaper editors told The Reporter.
This failure has forced newspapers to print empty pages.
Even though there are similar trends in broadcasting Media, many contending political parties have been unable to use the allocated time to sell their ideas through newspaper columns for free.
Deputy Editor of Addis Zemen Newspaper, Almaz Ayalew, told The Reporter that except some political parties including Prosperity Party, Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice and New Generation Party, the majority of parties were unable to use the provided slot accordingly.
According to Almaz, ENAT party, National Movement for Amhara (NAMA), Freedom and Equality, Balderas for True Democracy and other parties are among the parties that have failed to utilize the given column.
Despite repeated calls and invitations from Addis Zemen, NAMA has never sent any message for publication, while others have sometimes used the opportunity.
“The reluctance of political parties to use newspapers free of charge to sell their ideas partly emanates from their preference of Television programs, which they consider to be more appealing,” said Almaz.
Editor of the government newspaper Addis Lisan, Masresha Demsse, told The Reporter that out of the total 11 political parties that have been allotted space in Addis Lisan, only four have managed to use the provided column properly and the remaining seven have never appeared.
He criticized the trend of not using the opportunity given to them to reach out to voters. “This white paper would have been a source of income through advertisement or would have published stories for its audiences,” he said.
NAMA Public relations head, Tahir Mohamed, refrained from commenting on the party’s failures to use the available column.
Public Relations head of Balderas for True Democracy, Bekalu Atinafu (PhD), criticized the government for not forwarding the same opportunity on national media platforms.
“What we have got is an opportunity in Addis Lisan newspaper and the public is always on the national media and we are not encouraged to use Addis Lisan considering its audience base,” said Bekalu.
Ethiopia Mass Media Agency deputy director, Yonatan Tesfay, told The Reporter that the failure of parties to use their time might go in tandem with their capacity to produce articles. He added the age of social media and broadcast television plays a greater role in diminishing their interests in newspapers.