- The Ethiopian Broadcasting Agency (EBA) has ordered the existing newspapers and magazines to re-register within three months time and further barred property owners of such media from holding positions of editor or deputy editor in their media houses.
The EBA deputy director Desta Tesfaw said the aim of the new set of regulations was to guard against media monopoly and ensure diverse opinions in the industry which the official said plays a critical role in democratic dispensation.
Mr Tesfaw, said individuals registered as having more than two per cent stake in a media house, cannot be an editor-in-chief or deputy editor of publication, saying professionalism has to be brought into the local media.
According to EBA the mandate of the editor-in-chief designated by the publisher encompasses the power to supervise the publication and to determine the content so that nothing may be printed therein against his/her will.
Government critics and analysts said the new regulations are only aimed at trampling on the freedom of the press and media. "Such positions are held by proprietors who could be answerable to all the content in the paper," one analyst said.
Local media reported Dr Haile Ayale, a specialist on Ethiopian media ethics at Vienna University, Austria saying the theoretical aspect of the law may be valid, but said it was yet another blow for Ethiopia's media.
The EBA became the regulatory authority over print media when the Council of Ministers by regulation established the government Communications Affairs Office and thereby implicitly abolishing the Ministry of Information.
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