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Divisive debates on what constitutes the Ethiopian nation, how the state should be structured and how power should be devolved, have dominated Ethiopia's private press since the ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), came to power. The press has served as both a mirror reflecting these issues and a space for literate elites to engage in political debates. This article analyses the role of the media, and the press in particular, in Ethiopia's political debates. It also explores how the tenets of "Revolutionary Democracy" have shaped the media. This has polarized Ethiopia's media, which has been unable to effectively serve as a forum for the negotiation of political power or for reconciliation between divided sectors of society. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Eastern African Studies

Publication Date





716 - 732