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NewsAuthority doubles down on media regulations

Authority doubles down on media regulations

Three directives on broadcast media go operational effective this month

The Ethiopian Media Authority enacts three directives to regulate the public, community, and commercial broadcast media. They are part of the eight directives the Authority has been issuing since the ratification of the media proclamation in April 2021.

To be applicable beginning this month, the directives list the rights and responsibilities, and how licenses are granted for the public, community, and commercial broadcasting media. The directives rule on how television and radio media should conduct their reports during national occasions like elections.

Lists of administrative measures by the Authority as well as legal actions have also been stated. Beginning from warnings to suspension of licenses and legal actions, several measures would follow should the media houses engage in illegal activities.

One of the actions, as it was the practice before, was to prohibit the dissemination of a program considered to be a danger to national security before going public on any of the broadcast media.

On the issue of impounding and injunctions, article 45 of the proclamation states that prosecutors might request a court order to stop publication of the programs. In the event of an emergency, the broadcast of the programs will be called off with the order of the Ministry of Justice. This should be notified to the court of law within 48 hours.

The Authority also prepared and approved several other directives to govern the media landscape in Ethiopia. These include directives for religious broadcasting services, online media, and print media.

Following the approval of the religion broadcasting service directive, which forced the registration of religious-based media, several of them have been registered.

Among the 46 media outlets that started the process and are working with the Authority to finalize registration, 23 have received their licenses, according to Dessie Kefale, communications director at the Authority.

“There was a deadline on which all had begun the registration process. Some of them were already operational for a long time, of course,” he said.

Before the ratification of the proclamation, as Dessie explained, there had not been adequate legal frameworks for all kinds of media houses.

All the directives and regulations before last year’s proclamation were based on the Mass Media and Access to Information issued in 2008, and Broadcasting Service Proclamations issued a year before that.

“There are several other laws under discussion and preparation, which includes a directive on hate speech and misinformation,” Dessie told The Reporter.

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