Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – In a collaborative effort to combat disinformation and hate speech, model community radio programs were recently launched with technical and financial support from the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Inform Africa, and the UNESCO Liaison Office. The initiative aims to educate the public about peacebuilding through countering hate speech and the dissemination of false information.
The launch event, held at Haile Grand Addis Ababa on June 30, 2023, marked the beginning of a series of radio programs that will be broadcasted on 33 Ethiopian community radio stations. These programs are set to address the pressing issue of disinformation and its impact on society.
Mr. Adam Illman, Charge d’Affaires of the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa, and Mrs. Rita Bissoonauth, Head of the UNESCO Liaison Office to the AUC, ECA, extended their congratulations to all those involved in the launch of the radio peace programs designed to counter hate speech. Their collaboration highlights the importance of international partnerships in addressing global challenges.
Inform Africa’s executive director, Mr. Abel Wabella, shed light on the extensive efforts that went into bringing these radio programs to life. This included a thorough consultation, careful topic selection, script development, and production. The collective efforts of all stakeholders have ensured the creation of impactful and informative content for the public.
Fighting disinformation requires a multi-faceted approach, recognizing that it can arise from various sources and be spread through different channels. Educating individuals on identifying and verifying trustworthy sources of information, promoting media literacy, and implementing effective policies and regulations to hold disinformation spreaders accountable are essential aspects of this endeavor.
The initiative is part of the collaboration between Inform Africa, UNESCO, the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Community Radio Broadcasters Association, and the Ethiopian Media Authority, resulted in a six-month community radio program launch in Adama, Oromia, on March 21, 2023. This initiative served as a precursor to the production of the current series of radio programs aimed at peacebuilding.
At the inaugural event, various mainstream media representatives, community radio journalists, and scholars witnessed the program’s positive impact. The event served as a platform to highlight the importance of media literacy and responsible information dissemination.
As of December 2020, Ethiopia had 50 community radio stations with broadcast licenses from the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority. Among them, 38 are still active, according to Ethiopian Community Radio Association records. The collaboration aims to leverage the reach and influence of these community radio stations to counter disinformation and promote peacebuilding in the country effectively.
Launching these model community radio programs marks a significant step forward in Ethiopia’s efforts to combat disinformation and hate speech. By harnessing the power of radio and collaboration with international partners, the initiative aims to foster a more informed and peaceful society.