New television channels in Ethiopia may threaten state control – The Economist

by Zelalem

STROLL through Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and everywhere you will see satellite dishes, sprouting mushroom-like from roofs, gardens and balconies. “People have roofs to repair, but they are buying satellite dishes instead,” chuckles Abel Adamu, a lecturer at the Addis Ababa School of Journalism. “Wherever you go in Ethiopia, it is the satellite dish that comes first.”

The proliferation of these dishes symbolises the frustration that Ethiopia’s 90m citizens feel with state-owned television. But after years of hankering for a choice in what they can watch, Ethiopians are fast becoming spoilt for one. Four private satellite channels have launched so far this year. More are on the way. Kana TV, which first broadcast in March, has taken the country by storm. Shops and cafés across the country have renamed themselves after it. Conservative commentators decry its foreign soap operas, dubbed into Amharic, for corrupting Ethiopian culture.

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