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 4/9/2015 Southern Region to start independent TV broadcasting

The broadcasting authority has not given the required licenseSouth TV (Debub TV), headquartered in the Hawassa town and established at a cost of over 180 million birr,
will start broadcasting 10 hours a day after launching the opening ceremony on August 23, The Reporter learnt. The Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority announced that it has not issued a TV license to the Southern Nations and Nationalities Regional State.Yohannes Toure, the general manager of the Southern Regional State Radio and Television Organization told The Reporter that it was noted that the one-hour a day TV program that the region broadcast from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) was not enough to entertain the diverse nations, nationalities and peoples’ language, culture, social life, political system, natural resources conservation and utilization, and other issues. He indicated that the establishment process started in 2012 when a proposal was prepared and submitted to the regional government, and the proposal was approved in 2013.According to Yohannes, the station will start broadcasting soon after the launching ceremony as the studio is finished, the necessary materials have been acquired, and the employees have been hired. He also said that 110 employees, which constitutes 70 percent of the required workers to start the operation fully, are already hired. Yohannes emphasizes that the establishment of the TV station by the Southern Region is relevant to entertain and educate the residents of the region. While recognizing that there are many issues that are unknown about the peoples of the region, Yohannes expresses that as per the access to information law, the new TV will provide up to-date information on the regions to both the residents of the region and those citizens living outside of the region. He also explained that the experience of the Southern Radio Station, which is already on air 18 hours a day with 47 languages, will benefit the TV station.Workineh Tafa, head of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority Public Relation Coordination, told The Reporter that the authority has not issued a TV license to the Southern Region. He said that only Oromia, Harari and Somali regional states, and the city administrations of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa have obtained TV licenses from the authority. While he is well cognizant that the Amhara Regional State has already launched Amhara TV, and the Tigray Regional State is already completing its own TV station. Workineh explained that without the process of transforming the analog system of TV operations to digital format, new TV licenses are not going to be issued. Until now, the regional TV stations broadcast their programs by renting airtime from EBC. When asked about the time of completion of this process, he responded that the second half of 2015 is the tentative time schedule for completion. Even if the broadcasting proclamation allows the private ownership of TV, so far either the federal government or subnational governments have managed to get  licenses for TV broadcasting. Recently, the Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives, Abadula Gemeda told reporters that the government is not issuing TV licenses due to the sensitive nature of the media, as, a word could destroy the nation.


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