oa Global Media Journal - African Edition - State-owned media and democratization in Eritrea : an analytical study
The paper discusses various dimensions of a complex situation arising out of the conflict between the media and the state, and the raging conflict between the general perception of democracy and the Eritrean government's perception of it. This is within the context of a fast developing global village of which all African states will be members one day. Eritrea, though liberated in 1991 from Ethiopian rule, shares many characteristics of other dictatorial regimes in the neighboring countries. The state-run electronic and print media, centralized economy, lack of a parliamentary election process, independent judiciary, and suppression of fundamental rights, especially the freedom of expression, mark the dictatorial character of the regime in Eritrea in contrast to the accepted conventions of democracy in the West. The Eritrean government promotes a democratic model in which democratization is sought through education. Achieving democratization is limited to holding regular elections to local bodies at grass-root level. By the Government's not holding elections to its Parliament, the present policies of governance have not only turned deviant from its own once highly avowed and publicized macro-policy and the Constitution, but also have become vulnerable to mounting criticism. The present study, supported by a survey of the opinion of a random sample of people via mobile as well as Internet channels by means of open-ended questions, offers a snapshot of the growing desire of the people for full implementation of the Constitution, a liberalized economy and the free media, which their counterparts enjoy in many European countries.
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