Reflections on Media Freedom in Pre and Post Political Reforms in Ethiopia Practitioners’ Perspective

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Tesfaye Tufa
Melisew Dejene


Media freedom is crucial for the growth of democracy, particularly in developing nations where democracy is still in its infancy. Ethiopia has recognized media freedom in the constitution, as well as other press proclamations that had been amended at various periods. The country has ratified international media laws to such an end. There is evidence, however, that Ethiopia's media right to free expression has been violated on several occasions. Therefore, this study assessed the status of media in the pre and post-reform period (after the coming of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to power in 2018) as reflected by the practitioners. We held one-on-one in-depth interviews with twelve purposively selected media practitioners working for both government and privately-owned media based on their experience of doing journalism in Ethiopia. The views of media practitioners were qualitatively analyzed. The study's findings demonstrated that in the post-reform period, some of the obstacles that existed prior to the reform were changed, and media freedom was better safeguarded in relative terms3. The study recommends that media professionals should work within the present legislativeframework, which, while imperfect, should not make their relationship with the government inimical.

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How to Cite
Tufa, T., & Dejene, M. (2023). Reflections on Media Freedom in Pre and Post Political Reforms in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies (EJSSLS), 9(1), 21-31. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Tesfaye Tufa, Arba Minch University

Lecturer of Journalism and Communication, Arba Minch University; he collected and transcribed the data under the supervision of the second author. He analyzed and interpreted the data with the support and guidance of the second author. He was also involved in the write-up.

Melisew Dejene, Hawassa University.

Ph.D. Asst. Prof. of Policy & Development Studies and Journalism and Communication. He serves as Ph.D. Program Coordinator. He is a Social Development Cluster Leader at The Institute of Policy & Development Research (IPDR). He teaches post-graduate courses at the Department of Journalism & Communication and IPDR, Hawassa University.