Private Radio Stations in Ethiopia

Briefly, Ethiopia has issued broadcasting licenses to private FM radio in the Horn of Africa:

Radio Ethiopia, the national radio network of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, yesterday announced the award of contracts for seven turnkey FM tower and antenna installations to Jampro Antennas/RF Systems of Sacramento, California.

Radio Ethiopia currently operates 13 stations broadcasting AM and shortwave in 16 local languages as well as English.

The US Jampro’s outstanding reputation in East Africa is the accumulation of nearly 40 years of proven product quality and exceptional service to entire regional radio and TV network operations.

Ethiopia has issued its first broadcasting licences allowing private radio stations to operate in the Horn of Africa nation, officials said Monday 3 April.

The licences were issued to two radio stations which will broadcast on FM, following a decision reached in February, according to Sissay Melese, spokesman for the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority (EBA).

"We have issued licences for two private stations," Sissay Melese said. "These stations will have to be operational within the next 12 months if they don’t want to lose their licence."

The stations, Zami Public Connections and Tinsae Fine Arts, were selected from among 12 contenders on the basis of their financial status and programme content, Sissay said.

Ethiopian official said that every broadcaster has the right to cover all the news in a country as far as it doesn’t contribute to create violence. But they warned that legal action would be taken against the stations if they contravened regulations.

Addis Ababa has come under criticism in recent months for infringing on human rights and cracking down on independent media, notably since the eruption of violent street protests over alleged fraud in the May 15 polls that resulted in the death of at least 84 people in June and November 2005.