In Ethiopia, DW Akademie is working with partners to support media professionalism through tailored journalism trainings, and to promote public dialogue through innovative approaches.
Since the outbreak in November 2022 of the armed conflict between Ethiopia's federal government and the northern Tigray region, the country has been mired in severe political and economic challenges. It remains unclear whether efforts to restore peace will bring about lasting resolutions to conflicts that over the past years have plagued the country. Political reforms that began after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 have either been stalled or are too slow to bring about meaningful changes.
While media reforms have ushered in largely liberal media values, they have not entirely prevented the unlawful persecution and harassment of media outlets and journalists. In addition to political interference, Ethiopian media also contend with systemic challenges such as a low level of professionalism and unsustainable business models. The combined impact of the war in the north, armed insurgencies and drought has worsened the humanitarian crisis and threatens to cripple the country’s economy. Independent media with outdated business models have also been affected and struggle to adopt changing media dynamics. As a result, the media’s role as a watchdog and the promotion of constructive public discourse are now more critical than ever.
To address the lack of media professionalism, DW Akademie and its partner MERSA Media Institute (MMI) have established a training center that offers innovative, relevant, and practice-oriented journalistic training programs, including the topic of local market revenue streams. The project also advances the digital integration of independent Ethiopian newsrooms in content creation, curation and revenue mobilization.
In addition, DW Akademie in collaboration with MMI promotes a constructive public discourse, targeted at youth, through innovative spaces for dialogue. Young people make up the majority of Ethiopia's population and are actively involved in public discourse. The dialogues regularly bring together media actors, civil society representatives and youth to engage on issues that affect them.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Karolina Luczak Santana
Location: Addis Abeba
Local partner:MERSA Media Institute
Focus: Professionalism and economic sustainability of the media sector, digital journalism, innovation for dialogue