Almost all the media outlets in the African region suffer different types of struggles to express their opinions. And the media outlets of Eritrea are not an exception in this case. Almost all the countries have their mainstream media outlets and the government controls them so that they do not need to worry about their ruling system. Some bureaucratic complexities also have their contribution in blocking the passage of media expression. The democratization and other development issues place a bar on media outlets. So, it is often challenging for the media outlets to inform people about the truth.
Sometimes, the media outlets in the country play some controversial roles. The steps they take become distasteful for the government or for other political parties. So, it becomes tough for them to make a balance between the government and the opposition. Hence, when they broadcast or publish something favoring the government, the opposition becomes unhappy while the similar thing happens from the government’s part when they back the opposition. So, both the government and opposition have some mixed idea about the roles of media in the country and thus the government tries to control it strongly.
The media outlets in the country are able to bring numerous changes. They can spark debates of some logical issues and influence the public opinions. They have different roles to play and they are trying to do so. Though there are huge obstacles before them while playing the role of an investigator or the role of a setter, the media outlets become unable to move ahead with the attempts. The democracy they live in is not suitable for such expression and tasks. Professional survival becomes hard for the media outlets. So, the media outlets adapt themselves to different possible ways in the frequently changing situations. They try to overcome challenges.
The rate of literacy is lower in the country and so the readership is. In fact, the literacy rate is 25 percent in the country and thus the readership is lower here. People mostly love to listen to the radio programs and enjoy television shows. So, radio is a popular media outlet in the country than the other types of outlets. Besides, the press outlets in the country are mostly owned by the government but there are participations of private outlets is also noticeable. The government-run print media outlets try to defend the government in different ways for their activities.
But the state press relationship is not up to the mark. The press outlets often play the role of emerging democracy but they face some complex factors in the midway. Some of the unruly events from the government does not allow the media to expose and in such cases, the media outlets are under threat. Even, the events of journalist arrest took place in the country for political reasons.
The country has four newspapers altogether and one of them is published in the English language. The country has another Arabic publication for the wide audiences. The circulation for all types of newspapers is lower and all of them are governed by the state. They have less or no capacity to express themselves independently. The majority of the news and information is filtered or checked by the government before publication.
Currently, there are two television stations available in the country and they run the programs in different languages. Not all the television stations are available round the clock – only one of the television channels broadcast 24 hours in a day with different types of programs and events. earlier, in 1996, the private broadcast was banned in the country and license was made mandatory for the journalists. Even the newspapers also had to collect license for their operation. Even, the media contents were subject to prior approval from the government before publication. The government also banned foreign ownership of media outlets. But there are some flexibilities in the scenario.
Eritrea has three radio stations and one of them broadcast using five languages for educational purposes. The other radio stations run their programs based on the local contents.
The rise of the internet is not so remarkable in the country and comes with a limited access to the higher class of people who use it for the recreational purposes.