The Ethiopian Media Authority (EMA), Ethiopia’s main media regulator, has ordered Ethiopian radio stations to stop broadcasting foreign programs amid escalating diplomatic tensions between the African country and the international community over the conflict in Tigray in the north of the country.
EMA’s General Manager, Mohammed Idriss, announced in a statement published last Friday and collected by the Addis Standard that the holders of communications licenses would immediately stop foreign satellite broadcasts.
The EMA is aimed directly at radio programs whose broadcasting “poses challenges” by broadcasting “little controlled” content that “does not take into account the current situation in the country” and information that “harms the national interest”.
“Operators are expected to broadcast the country’s social, economic and political affairs, as well as content that takes into account the current situation in the country, to the general public,” the statement said.
One of the radio stations affected by the decision is the broadcaster Amhadu RTV, which has a satellite connection with the international US broadcaster Voice of America (VOA).
In this sense, the acting director of VOA, Yolanda Lopez, has assured in a statement that her station “adheres strictly to the principles of accurate, balanced and complete journalism”.
“Our content covers issues that are important to the people of Ethiopia,” added Lopez.
Also in the last few hours, the digital news portal Awlo Media announced the complete cessation of operations following allegations of persecution against the government.
According to the company, the federal government, despite complying with all legal requirements of the state, on 30.
Seylan Abdi, head of the communications office of the Federal Police Commission, said the journalists had been arrested for “belonging to a terrorist group recently banned by the Ethiopian parliament”.
The speaker referred to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), against which federal forces in the north of the country have been fighting since November 2020.
Despite a court order ordering the release of their employees, the police have taken no action to return the personal property of the company and its employees and to open the sealed offices.
“Despite the efforts of Awlo Media to keep its employees busy, none of the state institutions, including the federal police, the Ethiopian media authority or the officials concerned, could offer us a solution,” complains the company.
“For this reason, and in view of the problems emanating from the federal government, the company is being forced to lay off all of its employees,” the statement ends with a decision accepted by about eleven workers.