The Five Principles of Ethical Journalism and Ethiopia’s News Media

Published by Staff Writer on

The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) lays down Five Principles of Ethical Journalism as a guide to the profession. These are:

  • Truth and Accuracy
  • Independence
  • Fairness and Impartiality
  • Humanity
  • Accountability

With the new-found press freedom over the last year, Ethiopia’s news outlets (including YouTube streaming) are not only increasing in their numbers, but also with the intensity at which “information” is being dumped for public consumption. You’ll, therefore, be forgiven if you’re unable to catch up with them all. And you’ll also be forgiven if you note the blurring lines between news, views, and opinions. But one thing is clear. They all have an agenda to promote.

While there is nothing wrong to promote a just agenda, there is everything wrong when truth is bent with naked partiality, when humanity is dealt with utter insensitivity and contempt, and with assumed impunity for lack of accountability under the guise of cyberspace and from a comfort zone in a distant first world. Simply put, what we witness in Ethiopia by and large is everything that goes against the tenets of professional journalism built upon the above five principles.

Therefore, it would make you wonder how “journalists” in Ethiopia stack up if we attempt to construct a kind of league table on the basis of the above EJN guiding principles. There are “news” outlets that we won’t even bother to consider, the likes of ESAT which are more of propaganda outlets for hate and fake news, akin to the USA Fox News.

Here at DINAGDDEE.COM we will try to call out those who commit egregious acts in the name of journalism. Our Media tab on the front page is dedicated to a collection of commentaries and reviews that fall into this topical category. When we have sufficient review samples, we intend to devise some rating metric, so that journalists can get a better constructive feedback mechanism on how good or bad they’re doing. Keep visiting this page for our reviews and commentaries, with review links shown below.

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