Communications authorities in Ethiopia’s Somalia region have banned 15 media stations including foreign press, for ‘operating without accreditation.’
In a letter dated January 27, the Somali regional state communications bureau acting on orders from the Ethiopian Media Authority, has taken off air among them BBC Somali Service and Voice of America’s (VOA) Somali language services.
Head of the region’s journalists’ association, Abdulrazaq Hassan, has slammed the decision, arguing that this was a ploy to muzzle media reports from the region touching on corruption and drought.
“License is not the only reason for suspending the media outlets. These media were covering corruption, conflict, and drought-related issues exposing the ruling party,” Abdulrazaq told Addis Standard.
He further stated: “We have been asking the regional government communication bureau to renew our licenses, which are usually renewed after every six months,”
Other stations that have been affected include, MM TV, Universal TV, Horyaal TV, RTN TV, Universal TV, Five TV, Sahan TV, Horn Cable TV, and Goobjoog TV.
Since civil war erupted in the nation’s north in late 2020, press freedom in Ethiopia has rapidly declined. At least 63 journalists and media professionals were detained between November 2020 and August 2022, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
In some instances ,Ethiopian journalists have thought about leaving their employment or emigrating to nearby nations as a result of the pressure. Some journalists have chosen to write stories without bylines and to tone down their reporting.