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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Freebies and brown envelopes in Ethiopian journalism
Authors:Lodamo, BerhanuISNI
Skjerdal, Terje S.ISNI
Periodical:Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
professional ethics
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560054.2009.9653399
Abstract:This article discusses the practices of freebies (taking items such as free tickets or dinners for the journalist's personal gain) and brown envelopes (the informal transfer of money from sources to journalists) among journalists in the State-owned Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA). Such bribery practices are known in journalism fraternities all across the African continent but are rarely studied. This study of the Ethiopian State media shows that freebies and brown envelopes are widespread among journalists, although the management discourages and to some extent prohibits the practice. Sixty-one journalists (35 from TV, 26 from radio) responded to questionnaires in the study. A further 12 were selected for in-depth interviews. Ethically speaking, the journalists appear to make little distinction between freebies and brown envelopes as extraterritorial journalistic practices. Although they tend to agree on the problematic sides of the practice, they justify it by referring to low salary and poor journalistic training. Partly in contrast to studies conducted elsewhere in Africa, the authors refuse to believe that the practice can be systematically explained by material conditions or understood as a sociocultural phenomenon alone. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]