Does KANA TV signal more media freedom in Ethiopia?

qana-tv-ethiopia
About 90 percent of KANA’s output is international programmes dubbed in Amharic [James Jeffrey/Al]

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Race car driver Fahmi Girma tears along a dirt track in his souped-up Toyota Vitz on the outskirts of Addis Ababa past shepherd boys tending cattle – accompanied by energetic Ethiopian music.

The four-minute clip, in which 27-year-old Girma also discusses the history of race car driving in Ethiopia and its future potential, is part of the Masters at Work series for KANA TV, a new free-to-air private satellite channel that marks a breakthrough in Ethiopian televised entertainment. It may also signal a shift in Ethiopia’s much-criticised media environment.

About 90 percent of KANA’s output is international programmes, from the likes of South Korea, Turkey and South America, dubbed into Amharic, the lingua franca of Ethiopia – a necessity with 80 dialects across the country.

Following decades of drab Ethiopian state-owned television, when KANA launched in 2016, viewers were enthralled – it seized a 40 to 50 percent prime-time market share of Ethiopia’s estimated 4 million television households.

Read more at Aljazeera

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