The Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) has issued licences to the first two privately-owned FM radio stations in Addis Ababa. Zami Public Connections and Tinsae Fine Arts were chosen from 12 applicants on the basis of their financial status and proposed programme content. Every broadcaster has the right to cover all the news in the country as far as it doesnt contribute to create violence, said EBA spokesman Sissay Melese. The two stations now have 12 months in which to become fully operational. Owner of Zami Public Connections, former Voice of America journalist Mimi Sebhatu, has welcomed the move: It will have a big impact as a way to create diversified opinions, she told the United Nations news service IRIN News.
Until now all radio stations in Ethiopia have been owned and run by the state. All television broadcasting and mush print media remains under state management and many independent journalists and editors are currently in prison following anti-government protests in the country in November last year.