Login / Register

Ethiopia: Gov’t moves to shut down MiMi Sibhatu’s FM radio

by Daniel Berhane

Ethiopia’s media licensing agency moves to shut down FM 90.7 of Zami Public Connections, as the radio refuses to cancel its popular radio program,EthiopikaLink.

The radio station, owned by veteran journalist Mimi Sebhatu – former reporter of the Voice of America (VOA) Amharic service, and her husband Zerihun Teshome, is Ethiopia’s first private FM.

According to the letter leaked to HornAffairs, the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority (EBA) ordered indefinite termination of the station as of today, June 18, 2015.

The dispute between the radio station and EBA revolve around a popular radio show EthiopikaLinkwhich is run by journalist Birhane Nigussie and known for its insider stories, among others.

EBA had issued an ultimatum, at the beginning of last week, demanding the radio take-down EthiopikaLink or face closure. The radio station, however, refused to comply claiming the order isPhoto - Mimi Sebhatu unconstitutional and undermines the integrity of the station.

An editor of the show, speaking in a private conversation last December, had toldHornAffairs that they are pleased with their current editorial independence. It appears Mimi Sebhatu is trying to live up to that perception by refusing to take down the program.

According to sources in the radio station, EBA’s displeasure with the show is related to a segment on Artist Daniel Tegegn, about whom unpleasant details were presented.

HornAffairs was not able to confirm the details as EBA’s chief was not immediately available, while Mimi Sebhatu politely declined to comment on the matter without confirming or denying anything.

Nevertheless, the sources asserted that there has been a long paper trail between EBA and the radio station – most of which were CC’d to several senior officials, including the Prime Minister’s office.

The radio station announced to its staff this morning that its services will be halted at 2 pm, in compliance with EBA’s orders.

Yet, the radio was still on air at the writing of this news. Which is indicative of differences of opinions in the power corridors, which might have paused the orders for shut down .

FM 90.7 was one of the first two FM radios launched nine years ago. It was widely considered as a loosening of the tight grip on electronic media. Yet, so far, only two more FM radios had been licensed and that happened last year.

The radio is perceived as pro-government and. apparently for that very reason, it was denied the opportunity to host a British funded 6.3 million dollars worth show. Yet, ruling party officials often grumble about the segments aired on the radio.

The move to close the FM radio, if it materializes, would signal the final chapter in the history of Ethiopian private media.






Related Articles

  • The architectural mastery of Ethiopia...

    Ethiopiais legendaryfor its medieval, rock-hewn churches, the cruciform and colorful frescoes of which haveattracted touristsfrom across the world. The ancient kingdom of Abyssinia, ...

  • International Tribunal Court Rules in F...

    A top Ethiopian government official has claimed the International Court of Arbitration Chamber of Commerce has dismissed a claim by PetroTrans that the Horn of Africa nation had unla...

  • Hailemariam warns Saudi Arabia and UAE ...

    AFRICANGLOBE – Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has told a local private newspaper that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will bear the consequences of Ethiopia’s r...

  • Nurona Bizness: TV Show on Finance, Bus...

    New Television show to enhance Ethiopians finance and business literacy is to begin soon, according to Capital. The new TV show’s title is “Nurona Bizness,” literal...

Post your comment


Be the first to comment