The committee formed under the Federal Attorney General Legal and Justice Affairs Consultation Council, the Media Law Assessment Team has organized a consultative meeting for today to discuss hindrances it identified within media laws of the country.
The Committee which has analyzed the different laws which are directly and indirectly related to media operations and identified the ones hindering the media institutions to be independent, influential and challenging.
The Fifteen-member Committee which conducted these assessments includes legal experts, social activists, media owners as well as journalists. The assessment was done on three proclamations namely, the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation, the Broadcast Services Proclamation and the Computer Crimes Proclamation. But, proclamations such as the Criminal Code, the Anti-Terrorism and Advertisement Proclamations have been included in the assessment given the fact that they are related to media operations.
The criteria the team used to assess the proclamations include international and continental human rights provisions and the Constitution of the nation.
According to the document the team sent to The Reporter, the prohibition of foreign nationals from investing in the media sector in the country thereby limiting the participation of the Ethiopians in the diaspora, restrictions on investors from having controlling shares in different media houses limiting investments and expansion of the media are some of provisions identified. The document points out the fact that the right to access information concerns only information in the hands of the government, thereby limiting actual access to information; furthermore, the lack of separate provisions for access to information as well as other provisions with confusing meanings were identified as problems from the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation.
The report also sees into the implementation challenges of these proclamations affecting the media.
The assessment also looks into the lack of independence by the Broadcasting Authority as well as libel provisions of the criminal code are indicated as to have hampered media operations within the country.
The discussion which will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Elilly Hotel will bring together media houses, journalists, law makers, and government officials together to give inputs which will be presented to the government as recommendations for amendment.