Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Mass Media in Nile Politics: The Reporter Coverage of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam


Yeshiwas Degu Belay

The ‘Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ project, started in 2011 on Blue Nile (Abay) trans-boundary River with tense political confrontation with Egypt, has received sizeable national and international media coverage in a manner of introducing customers and depicting vital and selected details about the project Nevertheless, it remains understudied, if not neglected, issue in media research. This article examines The Reporter, private owned national circulation newspaper, salient frames pertain to the dam project and how these frames reflect Ethiopian government dominant perspectives on Nile politics. To this end, a longitudinal qualitative content analysis of articles in dated between 09th March 2013 and 15th March 2014 was conducted. The findings reveal that six dominant frames emerged inductively from the data that rendered certain aspects of the dam construction more salient than others. These are ‘Development’; ‘National Image’; ‘Right’; ‘Victimhood’; ‘Mutual benefit’; and ‘War’ frames. Ecological and environment issues and nearby communities’ livelihood and resettlement concerns caused by the project have been marginalized. Risks of flood and landslide received extremely diminutive media coverage. The article argues that The Reporter newspaper, mostly using official sources, engaged in cautious and selective framing weighting certain aspect of the GERD more salient while excluding others so as to promote a particular interpretation to the project that is consistent with its editorial agenda in corollary with Ethiopian government interest and perspective on Nile politics.


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