This thesis presents an interview- and literature-based case study primarily examining the challenges that were faced by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when it ran the peace radio programme Radio Selam for one year from early 2007 to early 2008. It also presents some opportunities that reveal themselves, although this is more a by-product of the larger focus on constraints.
Radio Selam attempted to promote peace primarily in regions of Ethiopia where EECMY had a presence, focusing on internal church conflicts over issues such as resources and influence, on conflicts between the church and other religious denominations, and on other clashes related to identity that the church believes are rooted mainly in resource and influence conflicts, such as between different ´ethnic´ communities.
Specifically, the thesis attempts to shed some light on how influences from four overall forces serve to primarily negatively constrain the Radio Selam project. The forces are defined as four main spheres that are often considered in media studies, and that cropped up during my review of African peace radio projects. These forces are the organisation itself (1), individuals working on the project (2), funding (3), and politics (4).
The thesis focuses on the organizational side of the project, and not on the reception side. That is, I do not examine issues such as Radio Selam´s impact on attitudes and practices. Intstead, I look at how the four hypothesized spheres may influence the running of the project in EECMY.
I conclude that it is plausible that Radio Selam is constrained in various ways by all four of the hypothesized spheres of influence. Major weakenesses include a lack of funding and the reliance on external sponsors, nepotism and staff lacking appropriate education, training and motivation, weaknesses among the organizational leadership, and government pressures leading to self-censorship.