The Ethiopian Media Council urged the media to discharge the highest principle in a bid to enable a peaceful resolution of the conflict that resumed in northern Ethiopia. The council called on the public, government and warring parties to stop all kinds of hostilities and resume the peace talk initiation.
It is a statement released just a few days after 35 civil society organizations urged warring parties to end the war and sit for negotiations immediately. They expressed their readiness to help resolve conflicts peacefully and to do activities that build peace, facilitate peacebuilding platforms, as well as to provide psychological support for victims of violence.
In a statement issued on September 9, 2022, the Media Council, on its part, reiterated the media must uphold peace as its highest agenda. A representative for over 60 media institutions comprised of private and public media institutions as well as media practitioners associations, the council is the largest umbrella of journalism in the country.
Especially after another round of armed conflict broke out in northern Ethiopia since August 24, 2022, Ethiopia is incurring the invaluable loss of human lives, which is a gravely commiserating for the council.
“Pursuing the path of war will deepen the war scars, inflicting further loss of lives, humanitarian crisis and economic devastations,” stated the council.
“We must take note on the devastation of the previous round of war, that war is devastating in all its terms. There is no part of society that benefits form conflict and war. Hence, all media houses and practitioners must prioritize working on urging all stakeholders to capitalize on the resumption of the peace talks that was initiated few weeks ago,” reads the statement.
The council has already stipulated journalism ethics and discipline for all media types in the country. Media institutions and journalists have also the mandate to adhere to these standards during conflict reporting.
“Media institutions must prioritize national and public safety, preserve the co-existence and solidarity of our society, and prevent any further divisive conflicts among the country’s population,” underlined the council’s statement.
Media houses and journalists are particularly requested to craft their contents with the highest responsibility in mind, refrain from disseminating any information that incites conflict, hate speech and contents that degrade humanity.
The Council also advised media outlets to uphold the constitution, and reserve from using languages that affects any ethnic group, community, gender, religion or political groups. As these values are also ratified on the council’s code of ethics, every member is mandated to adhere to it.
Press freedom is inseparable from stringent code of conduct and inherently, media has a special duty to maintain peace and friendship, according to the council. It stated that every news, comments and programs that cover conflicts and sensitive disagreements between peoples, nations, nationalities and religions must be reported after cross checking the facts from multiple perspectives.
“Every media must refrain from posting photographs and contents that depict unverified pictures from conflict areas, atrocious images and any sensitive contents that agitate the public,” stated the council.