Emerging FM Radio Stations in Ethiopia? You mean tiny, localized and fragmented government mouthpieces

The emerging few FM Radio stations in Addis Ababa and in some parts of Ethiopia have to plot a narrow route and stuck in promoting development, “excellent” image of Ethiopia and social change. Besides these Radio Stations are too scared not to upset those with a stake in the status quo. I know these FM Radio stations are credited with helping to advance some important social causes such as promoting women’s right and amplifying the awareness of HIV/AIDS related problems, but it is apparent that they are under austere tacit government pressure to be calm on other issues.

Let’s look at examples, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA), has given license for twelve different radio stations since 2008 from which seven radio stations belongs to Radio Fana franchise. Rumor has it that Radio Fana stations are accused of having a bias favoring EPRDF. Sheger and Zami FM radio stations allegedly are too spongy to go well with EPRDF policies and strategies, some say they might not be fond of EPRDF but they are not willing to go against a government-proposed policies.

Almost all FM or community radio stations preach government policies instead of informing or entertaining. Or if they attempt to amuse their listeners they may even go to the extent of offending them — their entertainment programs have always generated controversy. Take a look at their sports programs most Addis Ababa FM radio stations tend to, on average, spend more time on Arsenal or Manchester United because every premiership “pundit” wants a fame amongst Ethiopian “football” fans and the FM radios has the greatest capacity to cater to the imagination of passionate “football” fans.

Contrary to their names most community radio stations are not all owned and controlled by the community, though most are sponsored by nongovernmental organizations. Jimma University community Radio can epitomize this. On top of this most are also based in rural areas and are focused on the concerns and need of a specific community; they also typically broadcast in local languages. There is no doubt these stations are credited with playing a central role in disseminating health messages, but they are always conscious of the stuffs that might hurt EPRDF’s feelings

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