The contributions of media in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia

The case of Fana FM, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs

Thesis (M.A.), 2018

114 Pages, Grade: Very Good


Table of contents




Acronyms and Abbreviations

List of tables and Graph

Table of contents

List of Annexes

1. Introduction
1.1. Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3. Objectives of the study
1.3.1 General objective
1.3.2 Specific objectives
1.4. Research hypothesis
1.5. Research questions
1.6. Scope of the study
1.7. Significance of the study 7
1.8. Limitations of the study
1.9 . Organization of the research

Review of literature and theoretical analysis
2.1 Review of literature
2.1.1 Illegal Migration in the Global Context
2.1.2 Trends of Illegal Migration in the Horn of Africa
2.1.3 The Contributions of Regional Cooperation in East Africa to Minimize Illegal Migration
2.1.4 The Pros and Cons of Media in relation to Illegal Migration
2.1.5 The Reporting Practices of Illegal Migration by International Media
2.1.6 Illegal Migration in Ethiopia
2.1.7 Coverage of Illegal Migration by Ethiopian Media
2.1.8 Brief descriptions of Fana FM, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs
2.1.9 Media Role in Creation of Awareness with regard to Illegal Migration
2.1.10 Challenges of Media Stations in Minimizing Illegal Migration
2.2. Theoretical Framework
2.2.1 Social Learning Theory
2.2.2 Social Responsibility Theory
2.2.3 Cultivation Theory

3. Research Methodology
3.1. Research Design
3.2. Sampling Techniques
3.3. Sample Size
3.4. Data Collection Tools
3.4.1. Primary Data Collection Tools
3.4.2. Data Gathering Techniques
3.4.3. Ethical Consideration in Primary Data Collection
3.4.4. Secondary Data Collection Sources
3.5. Questionnaire Design
3.6. Data Analysis Arrangement

4. Data Presentation and Analysis
4.1. Coverage of Illegal Migration by he Three Media Outlets
4.1.1. Fana FM
4.1.2. Deutsche Welle
4.1.3 Voice of America
4.1.4. Informants Response about the Coverage of The Selected Media Outlets
4.2. The Contributions of the Selected Media Outlets in Minimizing Illegal Migration
4.2.1. The Responses of Journalists to their Media Outlets Contributions
4.2.2. The Responses of Informants and Focus Group discussion Participants towards the Contributions of the Selected Media Outlets
4.3. Challenges of the Selected Media Outlets in relation to Addressing Illegal Migration

5. Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1. Summary
5.2. Conclusion
5.3. Recommendations


Addis Ababa University


A number of research papers and study reports that have been written on the subject of illegal migration from Ethiopia have definitely given indispensable information and facts that clarify the magnitude of illegal migration, its causes, the various routes and trafficking channels, the type and extent of dangerous effects, economic and human loses and possible actions for its mitigation. However, none of these studies were able to specifically assess the current status as well as potential contributions of media outlets that broadcast with domestic languages to address this huge social problem of our country. This research paper is written with the aim of partially bridging this gap through analyzing the existing practices and contributions of three selected media outlets namely; Fana FM 98.1, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Services to reduce illegal migration taking place from Ethiopia in particular via Yemen to Saudi Arabia.

Combinations of data collection and analysis methods and tools have been employed for this study. Qualitative content analysis of programs broadcasted; in-depth interview with experts from media, international organizations and government institutions as well as focus group discussions with migrant female returnees from Saudi were main means of primary data and information gathering techniques utilized for this study. In addition, the descriptive analyses of the findings presented in chapter four with support of tabular and graphic presentations, the three media outlets have broadcasted 127 programs or news in total during the period January, 2015 to December, 2017 to aware citizens about illegal migration. Despite the existence of relative difference among the three media outlets and occurrence of a number of serious challenges, as initially put in my hypothesis, it was able to understand that all the three media outlets in one way or another have contributed to minimize the illegal migration from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia through Yemeni.


First and foremost I would like to thank and praise the almighty God for letting me know the correct life path that helped me to reach to this level.

Next, I am very much grateful to my advisor Dr. Arka Abota for his unreserved guidance, constructive comments and suggestions for the successful accomplishment of my study. This research would not have come in its present shape without his kind and wholehearted support.

I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Zelalem Behailu who always encourages and advise me to fruitfully complete my research. Especially, I have benefited a lot from his knowledge on how substantively and logically construct ideas while writing my thesis. I am also highly indebted to Mr. Biniam Teshale alumnus of Graduate School of Journalism and Communication at Addis Ababa University. He provides me relevant books, guiding manuals and significant advices throughout my study.

My thanks and appreciations also go to Ms. Grace Chisamya for her kind facilitation to contact migration experts from United Nations Economic Commission for Africa for the in-depth interview. I also forward my gratitude to my informants and FGD participants who lives here in Ethiopia and outside.

Last but not least I would also express my especial gratitude to my mother and two sisters who always with my side through their pray and moral encouragement.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of tables and Graph

1. Profiles of interviewed informants from the selected media outlets

2. Profiles of interviewed informants from non-media organizations

3. The profiles of FGD Participants

4. News stories of illegal migration covered by Deutsche Welle (2015 - 2017)

5. News stories coverage by the Voice of America in 2015

6. News stories coverage in 2016

7. News stories coverage in 2017

8. level of influences by the media stations and social institutions

9. Graph 1. Informants’ response for the contributions of the selected media outlets in reducing illegal migration.

List of Table

Table 1. Profiles of interviewed informants from the selected media outlets

Table 2. Profiles of interviewed informants from non-media organizations

Table 3. The profiles of FGD Participants

Table 4. News stories of illegal migration covered by Deutsche Welle (2015 - 2017)

Table 5. News stories coverage by the Voice of America in

Table 6. News stories coverage in

Table 7. News stories coverage in

Table 8. level of influences by the media stations and social institutions

List of Annexes

Annex I: the English version of interview questions for journalists

Annex II: the Amharic version of interview questions for journalists

Annex III: the English version of interview questions for non-media informants

Annex IV: the Amharic version of interview questions for non-media informants

Annex V: the English version of focus group discussion guideline questions

Annex VI: the Amharic version of focus group discussion guideline questions

Glossary for non-English words

Iddi r: It is an indigenous voluntary and mutual help association that can be found both in rural and urban parts of Ethiopia.

Kirkos: Usually called Saint Kirkos, it is an Orthodox Church of Ethiopia and used to refer a certain sub city or administration area of Addis Ababa.

Woreda: A local level administration and similar to that of district


1. Introduction

1.1. Background of the study

From the beginning of the early human history, the issue of migration is an indispensable part of human life. However, in this contemporary period of globalization migration at international and local level has profoundly increased and brought substantial demographic changes. It is true that, movement of people from place to place is accelerated the flow of technology, information, capital and strengthening the socio-cultural and economic interactions among societies and nations. Yet, the situation of migration is currently characterized by widespread challenges such as political persecutions, torture sexual and physical abuses, abduction, rape and slavery (Muhamed, 2016:1).

In spite of all these challenges, people migrate increasingly all over the world. However, compared to other regions the migration situation in Africa is very worse. According to, International Organization for Migration (2016:58) there are three main destinations for migrants from eastern Africa. The first route is through Sudan to Libya or Egypt to reach in Europe. Most of the migrants in this route are Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese and Ethiopians. The second route is via Somali region, cities of Hargeisa, Bossaso and the Republic of Djibouti to reach Yemen and Saudi Arabia (IOM, 2016:56; Human Rights Watch, 2014:22). The third route is through Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania to arrive in the Republic of South Africa (International Organization for Migration 2016:58).

Currently, there is an increasing illegal migration to the Arab countries by young men and women from rural and urban areas of Ethiopia triggered by poverty, drought and unemployment (Muhamed, 2016:22-25). In this case, undocumented or illegal migrants from Ethiopia preferred to enter Yemen and Saudi Arabia through the eastern routes which started from the Republic of Djibouti, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (Human Rights Watch, 2014:22).

In fact, migration in Ethiopia is not a recent phenomenon it passed through four important historical waves for the last thirty and more years. The first wave was the pre 1974 movement and return of elite Ethiopians who primarily went abroad for education and they were returned after accomplished their education. These scholars had a top position during emperor Hailesillassie’s regime with the responsibility of advising the administration in the economic and political affairs. After the committee of soldiers called Darg composed of junior and senior military officers as well as noncommissioned officers were seized the central power in 1974 (Bahru, 2002:233-234), so many Ethiopians were migrated to the nearby and western countries due to prolonged civil war and fear of “Red Terror”. This type of movement can be characterized the second wave which lasts from 1974-1982. The third wave from 1982-1991 was mainly migration of family reunification which means families previously left behind reunited to those who had initially left the country. After the downfall of the Darg regime in 1991, the primary flow of migration was the repatriation and return of Ethiopian refugees from neighboring countries. The final wave of migration was the post 1991 flow and continues today (Kuschminder, et al., 2012:33).

At present illegal migrants mainly young women and men both from rural and urban Ethiopia are facing many challenges starting from departure to destinations, especially those who travelled to reach Yemen and Saudi Arabia were anguished, looted, physically and sexually abused by human traffickers (CNN, 2017 by Eliza Mackintosh: NP). Thus, several humanitarian organizations and international institutions are actively working to overcome the problem. Among, the various institutions the role played by different media outlets to minimize the awful nature of illegal migration are notable (Weeks and McAuliffe, 2015:7). The different media outlets such as print, electronics and social media helped people to obtain information on illegal migration. Specifically, the electronics media like radio repeatedly covered the situation of illegal migration through news, interviews and documentaries.

It is through the news report of international media that people informed about the recent brutality act of human traffickers in Yemen, Mediterranean Sea and Libya desert. Actually, the contributions of media to minimize illegal migration is not only determined by their news coverage or news reports but, also through their role of persuading policy makers to devise and implement effective migration policy (Threadgold, 2009:1).With regard to Ethiopia, media are the most instrumental elements to inform and educate the public in relation to illegal migration. Likewise, the growing number of FM radio stations here at home (Ethiopia) is an advantage for the governmental and non-governmental organizations working on migration to aware the society about the terrible side of illegal migration. In addition to giving weight to illegal migration, media are also important to convince law enforcing body to implement criminal code that penalizes human traffickers.

However, citizen mainly those who are on the journey are still suffering from physical and mental abuses and unnecessary financial expenses (Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, 2014: 47). Even, disregarding the conflict and political chaos in Yemen, quite significant number of Ethiopians arrives every month with the intention to transit through Yemen to Saudi Arabia (Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, 2016:12). Therefore, there needs to be continuous work and efforts largely by media institutions to overcome the problem.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In regions like Africa the growing number of illegal migration has brought negative demographic and economic consequences. The magnitude of the problem is more severe in the Horn of Africa where the prevalence of rampant poverty, political persecutions, unemployment, lack of sufficient farming land and drought (particularly migrants from the rural area) caused for many young people to migrate illegally from their home lands (Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, 2012:14). Thus, the study is all about the contributions of media in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia the case of Fana FM 98.1, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs.

As reported by different international media, developing countries like Ethiopia have lost their significant number of productive labor force through illegal migration. Particularly, the recent death of young people from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea who were crossing Mediterranean and Yemen Sea has got attention by different media stations (BBC, 2017 by Samuel Osborne NP). Though, these media stations have reported the issues of illegal migration based on their perspectives, none of them were presented solutions to overcome the problem. Rather, majority of media reports were emphasized on what really happened in migrant’s transit areas and challenges for destination countries.

Basically, the nature of the messages communicated by the media in all its forms have a visible impact on overall societal attitudes, which in turn can have attitude change on the behavior of the society (Kosho, 2016:86).With this regard, a few related studies on media contributions to minimize illegal migration depicts on how western media distortedly reported immigrants’ life (Jacomella, 2010:42-45). For instance, the prolonged conflict, political turmoil as well as poverty and unemployment forced thousands of people from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia to migrate illegally to Europe and Middle East (Mixed Migration Secretariat, 2012:33-34). Hence, international media massively reported the challenges of these migrants in their journey to reach into Europe and the Middle East.

However, some of them associated the current migration situation as a burden for Europe. For example, newspapers in France labeled migrants of Calais as illegitimate and reduced them as a non-human status because of migrants’ refusal to resettle other areas. (Ibrahim, 2015:4-5). Calais is a port city of northern France usually referred to as “the jungle”. As it attracted many refugees from all over the world; the wasteland was transformed into a huge, functioning camp. The refugees of Calais were mainly from Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. The conditions of the area were poor and difficult to live for refugees and asylum seekers, typically without proper sanitary or washing facilities and accommodation, consisting of tents and improvised shelters. The camp was considered to be a symbol of Europe’s failure to solve refugee crisis and closed in October 2016 (Ghayrat, 2016:1-2).

Likewise, a study paper presented by Reminder Project (2017:1-2) also expressed this argument and illustrates western media in relation to reporting. They found that the media in western society failed to show the real picture of immigrants but, rather take key events to grasp further media attention. Up till now, international media and researches conducted on the issue are still lacking to cover the root causes of illegal migration from the origin places. The same is true for the news report of BBC (by Samuel Osborne, 2017: NP) and Al Jazeera (by Rosiland Jordan, 2017: NP) stated 50 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia were deliberately drowned in to Yemen Sea by smugglers. The report was focused on risks of migrant’s journey, the terrible act of human traffickers and the smuggling route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen. Even though, the report was exclusively covered the situation there, failed to address the fundamental causes contributing for illegal migration.

Hence, this study thoroughly assessed the root causes for illegal migration in Ethiopian particularly in the eastern routes and discusses the contributions of media in addressing the main causes that forced young people to migrate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In similar vein, the study analyzed the coverage of the selected media stations in relation to the challenges that the migrants faced in the course of their journey and awareness created by these media stations.

With respect to Ethiopia, there are only few academic research studies conducted on electronics and social media linkages with migrations. The recent MA thesis of Thomas Kebede (2016) entitled Practices of Electronic Media Stations in Supporting Prevention against Human Trafficking in Ethiopia justifies illegal human trafficking situations in Ethiopia. The study focused on the southern routes which pass different southern African countries ended at Republic of South Africa. The researcher targeted Hossana city which is found in southern Ethiopia for his study and pointed out that human trafficker’s role in smuggling young Ethiopians through the southern route. The researcher also depicts the practices of electronics media such as EBC, Fana FM and Facebook in minimizing human trafficking. Though, this study is significant to understand the role of electronics media in prevention of human trafficking, it is only limited to show migration situation in the southern routes.

In the meantime, the different studies conducted on illegal migration particularly in the eastern route are out of media and communication field. For instance, the 2016 MA Thesis conducted by Elias Getachew, on “Irregular Migration from Ethiopia to the Middle East: The Human Security Perspective” concentrated on how political, economic and food insecurities affect a number of individuals in Ethiopia and forced them to migrate illegally. Similarly, (Muhamed, 2016) under his research “the Migration of Ethiopian youth to the Middle East and its impacts on the migrants’ sending community: Raya- Mehoni Town” discussed the driving force of the youth migration and challenges the migrants’ sending community facing when the youths migrate. However, as I mentioned the above both studies were conducted in another filed of studies.

It is with this intention that the study sought to address the contributions of media such as Fana FM 98.1, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia. More importantly, the study stressed challenges of these media stations facing in their effort to minimize illegal migration. On top of that, this study is also designed to bridge the knowledge gap and thereby provides recommendations in relation to the contributions of media to minimize illegal migration in Ethiopia.

1.3. Objectives of the study McAuliffe

Department of Immigration and

1.3.1 General objective

The general objective of the research is to analyze the contributions of media in minimizing Ethiopian illegal migration by focusing on Fana FM 98.1, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs.

1.3.2 Specific objectives

This research has the following specific objectives.

1. To analyze the coverage of illegal migration by these media stations
2. To study the contributions of the above selected media outlets in creation of awareness on illegal migration.
3. To scrutinize challenges of these media stations faces in their efforts to contribute to minimize illegal migration.

1.4. Research hypothesis

Theories in relation to migration as well as empirical studies done on this topic provide different explanations regarding the causes and mitigating measures for illegal migration from less developed countries to rich countries. The explanations also differ according to both the origin and destination countries. For instance, Human Rights Watch (2014:25) identified lack of employment opportunity, poverty and political marginalization as main reasons for illegal migration to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states from Ethiopia. The diversity of the causes also implies that several actors do have role and responsibility to avert the problem, which is bringing numerous socially troubling stories.

I believe that media outlet is one of the key actors that can have crucial and wide reaching impact to minimize the illegal migration taking place from Ethiopia to Yemen and Saudi passing along the unpredictable and dangerous route. Hence, in this research paper I will try to prove or disprove my hypothesis put next regarding the contributions of three media outlets selected for the study.

Hypothesis: Fana FM 98.1, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs have made contributions to minimize illegal migration from Ethiopia to Yemen and Saudi.

1.5. Research questions

The research is designed to answer the following major questions

1. How these media stations covered the issue of illegal migration?
2. What are the contributions of the selected media outlets in creation of awareness on illegal migration?
3. How challenges are obstructing these media stations in contributions to minimize illegal migration?

1.6. Scope of the study

The research emphasized on the contributions of media in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia: the case of Fana FM, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs. The coverage of the study is from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017 and gave emphasis to illegal migration in the eastern route from Ethiopia to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

1.7. Significance of the study

Though, journals, articles and research studies in relation to migration are available in international and local contexts, only few of them are indicated media contributions to minimize illegal migration. As I mentioned in the statement of the problem, very few academic research studies conducted on electronics media with regard to illegal migration. The researcher believed that doing media research in relation to illegal migration is helpful for governmental, non-governmental and regional organizations who are working to mitigate illegal migration. Specifically the findings of the study would have the following three significances.

First, it contributes to media professionals to have better insight about illegal migration and increase their interest to work on the issue. Second, the study attracts researchers to examine illegal migration in another direction and would use the result of the study as a baseline data. Third, the result of the study will benefit policy makers and social experts to give due attention on illegal migration. Furthermore, this study can be used as a reference for researchers and writers while doing their study.

Warren Weeks

1.8. Limitations of the study

Although this research has reached its aims, there were some unavoidable limitations and shortcomings. First, because of time constraints the researcher was only limited to examine the three media outlets contributions in the minimization of illegal migration. Due to this reason, the result of the study might not represent the coverage of the whole electronics media. It would be better if it was done in a longer time. In addition to this, some informants were not available on time for the interview. Thus, it takes much of my time because of the frequent contacts. Second, the researcher was also faced shortage of finance to further investigate the issue. Third, lack of sufficient research materials related to the topic was the other shortcomings to complement the findings of the research. Yet, the researcher managed all these limitations properly and takes them as a lesson for future studies.

1.9. Organization of the research

The research is organized under five chapters. The first chapter deals with the introductory part of the study, statement of the problem, objectives, hypothesis, research questions, scope, significance and limitation of the study. The second chapter of the study focuses on review of literatures and theoretical frameworks. The third chapter discusses on the methodological frameworks employed for the study. The fourth chapter presents the finding of the research and finally the fifth chapter deals with summary, conclusion and recommendations.

CHAPTER TWO Review of literature and theoretical analysis

This part of the study covered review of various related literatures such as research papers, journals, articles, reports and so on pertinent to study illegal migration from the perspectives of media as well as theories developed by scholars.

2.1 Review of literature

2.1.1 Illegal Migration in the Global Context

From the mid 1970 onwards globalization turns out to be major factor for international population movement. Globalization has reduced the imaginary distance between countries and foster economic and social interactions. The establishment of all forms of transnational networks and mass movement has played crucial role in the socio-economic as well as cultural transformation of countries (Firth and Armendariz, 2007:10). The global migration trend has changed over in recent decades in relation to the origin and destination, the volume and types of migrants. These changes observed through countries in which previously origins of migration became destinations of migrants and vice versa (Skeldon, 2013:4).

According to the report of OECD (2012:30) the European Union received 1.2 million “permanent” migrants in 2010, more than the number of permanent migrants to the United States (over one million), which represents a very significant shift in the global migration system over the last one hundred years. The number of international migrants has increased worldwide over the past fifteen years. Numerically, in 2000 it was 173 million migrants then it grow rapidly and reaching to 244 million in 2015 (Menozzi, 2015:1-2). Today because of the interconnectedness of the world, international migration touches all corners of the globe which is evidently observed from the day to day movement of people across nation’s boundaries. Actually, modern transportation system has facilitated the movement of people to be easier and faster than before. At the same time, more people were forced to migrate irregularly (illegally) from their area of origin due to prolonged conflict, poverty, inequality and lack of decent job. The fact that when supported by appropriate policy, the high skilled or educated migration can contributes for the sustainable economic growth and development in both origin and destinations countries of migrants (Docquier, 2013:5). For instance, in 2014 the remittances sent home by migrants from developing countries estimated 436 billion US Dollar that augmented the foreign currency stock of most developing nations. Similarly, countries of destination can also benefit from migration. Usually, in destination countries migrants can cover labor shortage, create jobs as entrepreneurs, and contributes in terms of taxes and social security payment (Menozzi, 2015:1-2).

However, because of several reasons the situations of the current migration is shifted from the legal to illegal one and it posits multiple challenges for countries of origin, transit and destinations. Under this situation migrants are exposed to discrimination, abuse, torture and being exploited by crime organizations. Though it is difficult to find the exact figure about illegal migrants at a global level, the most recent global estimation of International Organization for Migration suggested that in 2010 at least 50 million illegal migrants were found worldwide (International Organization for Migration, 2015:11). Globally, still difficult to put exact figures of illegal migrants, IOM used estimation rather than accurate figure due to the unavailability of documents with regard to illegal migrants.

In relative sense the US America has an accurate estimation of irregular migrants which is significant for the country to devise appropriate policies to accommodate the issue of illegal migration. Accordingly, using a “residual methodology”, the number of undocumented migrants in the US America estimated at 11.7 million in March 2012 (Pew Research Center, 2013:6). Similarly, the 2009 study conducted by Clandestino (2009:12) demonstrated that in 2008 1.9–3.8 million undocumented migrants were found in the 27 countries of European Union. The same is true in Australia and the Russian Federation. In Australia the Government estimated that in 2012 about 61,000 persons were illegal migrants and the government categorized these migrants under skilled migration program (Australia, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2013:50) as well as the Platform for International Cooperation report indicated that about 5-6 million undocumented migrants lived in Russia (Platform for International Cooperation, 2013:4).

In 2012 the international community has given greater attention to illegal migrants who are in difficult situations and established Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in 2010. GFMD was established based on the proposal of the UN Secretary-General to address the opportunities and challenges related to international migration in transparent manner. The forum further more address the need for coordinated effort by government expertise from all regions in order to increase dialogue, cooperation and partnership to foster effective outcomes at the national, regional and international level.

Very recently, governments all over the world have called upon to protect the human rights of migrants in irregular situation by the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (United Nations, General Assembly, 2013:19-21). Thus, through the dialogue countries have responded to combat illegal migration by reforming their immigration laws, promoting the return of illegal migrants to their countries and implementing persistent program to minimize illegal migration.

Though globally the effect of illegal migration does not occur homogeneously, the magnitude of the problem is more serious in less developed countries. A few years back the number of people who migrates illegally from developing nations by crossing borders of different countries has been increased at alarming rate (Menozzi, 2015:14-15). Even, some of them were exposed to physical and mental abuses. The negative impact of illegal migration poses multiple challenges to countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as to migrants themselves. Migrants in illegal migration are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse. Such migrants are also in danger of being exploited by crime organizations involved in human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes that constitute a serious violation of the human rights of its victims (United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, 2013:91).

Studies indicated that significant number of young people from Africa, Syria, and Afghanistan were migrated precariously to Europe and the Middle East to escape from war, poverty and political persecutions (Human Rights Watch, 2015:5-9). Through this kind of journey hundreds of young people were looted, tortured and raped by human smugglers. Therefore, countries needs to work based on their agreement of reforming their immigration laws, promoting the return of illegal migrants to their countries and implementing persistent program to minimize illegal migration.

2.1.2 Trends of Illegal Migration in the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa encompasses Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan (World Bank report, 2015:12). Recently, illegal migration in this region has increased and become more complex. The driving forces for illegal migration in the Horn of Africa are varied from place to place and depended on the context of the migrants’ origin.

In addition to, the violent conflicts, political oppression and persecution, the region for many years faces challenges of low human and economic development that forced thousands of people to migrate illegally. In the meantime, environmental factors also increasingly pushing people out of their place of origin. Often, it is a mix of factors that finally leads to the decision to migrate (Marchand et al., 2016:11). Migrants in this region were used different routes to migrate illegally. According to the Occasional Paper Series conducted and presented by Horwood (2015:10) illegal migration in the region has carried out in four directions such as the eastern, southern, northern and western direction.

First, migrants transit through Djibouti on the eastern route to Yemen, the Middle East and beyond. This route is the most documented and popular in the last four years and an average of 93,000 Somali and Ethiopian migrants have taken this route annually (Horwood, 2015:10). Some migrants entered to Yemen to search for local jobs as domestic servants or in construction and agriculture, but most hoping to travel neighboring Saudi Arabia for employment (Human Right Watch, 2014:20).

Second, migrants used to transit the southern route extended to the Eastern Corridor via Kenya towards South Africa and beyond. In the year of 2008 and 2009 an estimated number of migrants between 17,000 and 20,000 mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia were using the southern route annually (Horwood, 2015:10). Besides the various pushing factors that forced people from the Horn to migrate South Africa, there are legal loophole (gap) relating to asylum applications. According to Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (2017:6) the reason for the gap is most migrant communities within South Africa immediately applied for asylum through ‘fixers’ who charged a fee and supposedly paid state officials to accelerate registration.

The third route is the northern route includes Sudan and Egypt and previously via Sinai to enter Israel. This route has been used mainly by Eritreans and Sudanese but the numbers are not documented (Horwood, 2015:10).

The fourth is the western route begins in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia or Somaliland, passes through Sudan and, Libya to reach in Europe (Italy and Malta) by crossing Mediterranean Sea. The European border and coast guard agency (Forntex) referred the route to cross Mediterranean Sea as the Central Mediterranean route. The western route has become increasingly popular but, migrants are facing awful challenge in this route (Horwood, 2015:10).

2.1.3 The Contributions of Regional Cooperation in East Africa to Minimize Illegal Migration

In our contemporary world global and regional cooperation’s have significantly contributes to maintain the socio-economic and political ties of countries. Today, global cooperation promotes partnerships among countries through economic, social, environmental and political aspects. In relation to migration, regional cooperation’s played crucial role in maintaining safe movement of people from place to place. The African Union member states are currently conscious of the implication of international migration both in their national, regional and sub regional development (Oucho, 2011:1). At regional level various governmental and non-governmental organizations are working in partnership to address the issue of illegal migration. In this case, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has developed the Regional Migration Policy Framework (IGAD-RMPF). Likewise, some Sub-Sharan African countries are either developed or are in the process of developing National Migration Policies.

Staring from recent year’s considerable number of young people from Horn of Africa like Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan were migrated illegally through the mentioned migration routes. Most of them were facing serious challenges from departure to destinations. According, to the study conducted by Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (2014:9) migrants are facing danger in every step of their journey from departure to destination. In similar talk, international media mentioned the deteriorating situation of illegal migration in the Horn of Africa. Therefore, various non-governmental and regional organizations have been working to curb the problem. As part of this effort, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), composed of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda formed the IGAD Regional Migration Coordination Committee (RMCC) in 2008. The RMCC is vital to implement IGAD Regional Migration Policy Framework (I-RMPF). The I-RMPF is the process through which recommendations and execution of the AU Strategic Framework for a Policy on Migration in Africa will be realized (IGAD Summary Report, 2014:3).

However, in the region the effort to apply free movement of persons, especially within the East African Community is still far from implementation. The Eastern African Community (Republic of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda) adopted, in 2010, a Common Market Protocol (CPM) which guaranteed the free movement of goods, persons, labor, services and capital between the mentioned countries. It also ensures the enjoyment of the rights of establishment and residence of their nationals within the Community (Martín and Bonfanti, 2015:3).

Besides, to the joint effort to mitigate illegal migration in the region several meetings and seminars were held in East African level through the support of IOM and UNHCR. In this regard, Regional Conference Summary Report on Refugee Protection and International Migration (2010:3) mentioned four important points central to the regional cooperation to minimize illegal migration. First, it accentuated the need for strengthening national, bi-lateral and regional cooperation on refugee protection, mixed migration and illegal migration issues. Second, the report underscored the need for improved national policy and legal frameworks to address the challenges of mixed migration flows, in particular to national asylum procedures, detention of illegal migrants, asylum seekers, local integration/livelihoods opportunities for refugees and migrants. Third, it highlighted the need for strengthening national capacity with regard to border management to respond to the challenges of mixed migratory movements in a human rights and protection-sensitive manner. Finally, the report mentioned the need for more accurate refugee data and improved data analysis to ensure the development of evidence-based policies.

In general, the role of regional cooperation such as IGAD and other organizations that are working in the area of migration is momentous to bring shared outlooks in the minimization of illegal migration. Nevertheless, the issue of illegal migration is still hampering the economic progress of Horn African countries. Therefore, to overcome the problem in sustainable manner strong actions needs to be taken by the member states of IGAD or other concerned bodies.

2.1.4 The Pros and Cons of Media in relation to Illegal Migration

People access information concerning migration from the different means of communication. Among, the different communication channels, media is the most effective means of obtaining information about migration. To large extent, our attachment with media influences our perceptions, attitudes or beliefs about migration (Allen et al., 2017:1-2). According to McQuails (2010:368) our mind is full of media-derived information and impression since; we lived in a world saturated by media sounds and images where politics, government, and business operate on the assumption that we know what is going in the wider world.

Today, mass media have become an unavoidable from our everyday lives; it is difficult to imagine our day without newspaper, television, radio and the Internet (Semotam, 2011:4). The different media components have covered comprehensively the situation of migration in all over the world. However, the various media outlets tended to report the situation of migration based on its news worthiness rather than the human element. Usually, news on migration are gathered when something sensational and worth reporting happens (International Organization for Migration, 2017:3). Thus, in a wider context, media have both advantages and disadvantages in mitigation of illegal migration. Basically, media inform, aware and educate people about the awful nature of illegal migration by emphasizing the situation of migrants starting from the origin, transit and destination. In recent time, public attention to migration has been increased due to the wider coverage of different media outlets (Kosho, 2016:86). Media reports towards appalling events such as the drowning African in the Mediterranean and Red Sea and terrorist threat increased public attention.

The media have also played pivotal role in persuading international organizations to devise agenda in mitigating illegal migration (Kosho, 2016:86). For instance in Europe some print and electronic media are pressurizing political leaders and policy makers to work for in favor of migrants. In the context of Africa, media contributes significantly to inform the public, especially the younger generation about the dreadful nature of illegal migration. In this case, various media outlets have been reporting challenges of African migrants in Yemen and Libya, which is crucial to those migrants’ countries to apply appropriate protective mechanism against illegal migration.

Though, media are crucial in reporting issues related to illegal migration, much of the research evidence shows that some media had increasingly associating bad news with migrants around the world. For instance, in 2013–2014 unfavorable print and online coverage of migration was observed in six developed countries such as Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (International Organization for Migration, 2017:3-4).

The unpleasant feature articles and news reports by the European media centers, especially newspapers devastatingly affect the human status of migrants in Europe. According to Ibrahim (2015: 1-2) Britain’s mid-market newspaper reported on the emergence of informal migrant camps and labeled the place as the jungle. The jungle is constantly associated with degradation, barbarism and illegality in newspaper representation. Due to the distorted images of migrants by some newspapers in France and Britain, hundreds of migrants in Calais refugee camp were derecognized their basic needs like shelter, food and security.

In fact the coverage of media not only influences people’s attitudes and judgments but also activates related cognitions. Concerning the context of migrants, media coverage can also activate cognitions by portraying migrants negatively. For instance, racial bias in media can automatically result negative thoughts about respective social group (Reminder Project, 2017:8). In recent time, this type of attitude is shown by some European countries due to the increasing of refugee crisis in Europe.

2.1.5 The Reporting Practices of Illegal Migration by InternationalMedia

The reporting practices of migration by the different media centers vary from place to place. In broader term international media outlets disseminate information about illegal migration from the perspectives of news worthiness. Despite the numerous initiatives in relation to media transparency, migrant-related news-making practices remain bound up with several challenges in the world (International Organization for Migration, 2017:3).

However, the last three years has seen the rising of international media coverage about illegal migration and refugees. In 2015 approximately one million people from Syria were fleeing to Europe. In the mentioned year journalists recorded the biggest movement of people across boundaries and they responded through many stories that appeared on a daily basis in Europe’s media (Georgiou and Zaborowski, 2017:4). The attention of media towards the situation of refugee remains high and greatly polarized regardless of the fluctuation migrants’ number. According to Migratory Observatory Report (2013:3) the reporting practices of media towards migration in Europe, especially their language tone is more or less same. For instance, print media especially newspaper in Europe reported the situation of refugees or migrants as burden for Europe and reduced them as a non-human status (Ibrahim, 2015:4-5).

In terms of tone and content media reporting practices varies from country to country. For example, research suggests that the emphases of media in French are more likely to report on social and cultural issues and the US media on economic concerns. The media in South America and India tend to focus on internal migration, and in South Africa the focus is primarily on instances of xenophobia and racism. Coverage of refugees and migrants is more positive in Sweden and Germany and generally more negative in Australia and the UK. The British presses are more likely to frame refugees as potential threats to culture, welfare, security and the health system than any other country in Europe (Dempster and Hargrave, 2017:17).

Coverage of the refugee crisis and the illegal migration issues by the Arab media generally tended to repeat the narratives of the European media. Some of the Arab countries media, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia blame the US and its Western allies for the crisis. The Arab media comments in many of their reports about the unnecessary military intervention of the west in Syria. Such coverages were also instrumental to support or legitimize the geo-political interests and policies of these countries, which have supported the insurgency against the Syrian regime in various ways (Matar, 2017:294-295).

The reporting practice in Africa is more or less a replication of the western media type. This can be observed through the refugee crisis reporting trend of Egypt. Some media commentators in Egypt used the refugee crisis to legitimize the military rule under General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and warning Egyptians about the occurrence of conflict and war similar fate to that of Syria, if they did not rally behind the President (Matar, 2017:294-295).

In similar vein, the role of the South African media is based on perpetuating xenophobic and stereotypes attitudes in the mind of the public. A large amount of South African newspaper coverage is more of “anti-immigration and non-analytical”. The press is responsible for labeling the image of migrants as “criminals” and “job stealers”. In this regard, various research reports have directly or indirectly accused the South African press for contributing to antiforeigner sentiment in which attributed to the formulation and publicity given to various anti-illegal views through the media (Danso and David, 2005:116).

2.1.6 Illegal Migration in Ethiopia

Ethiopia was one of the largest producers of migration in the Horn Africa until 1990. The movement of Ethiopian migrants became substantially greater in the late 1960s and 1970s, especially after, the 1974 revolution large migration flows started to arise. The main reasons for such migration were escaping political conflict, famine and persecution often by their own government (Fransen and Kuschminder, 2009:10). However, in terms of migration rates Ethiopian who moved out from their country is low compared to Africa (Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, 2015:132).

Studies indicated that the situation of illegal migration has brought pitfalls and dangers in the free movement of people. These problems reflected in the movement of Ethiopian migrants and most of them faced hardship in their journey to reach in their desired destinations. Illegal or undocumented migrants from Ethiopia used different transitory countries to enter to the Middle East and Europe. Such transitory countries are Djibouti, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Puntland, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, and United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe (IOM, 2016:59).

However, among the mentioned transitory countries large number illegal migrants from Ethiopia used Djibouti as a transit to reach the Arab countries. As clearly mentioned by Fernandez (2017:246) since the late1990s, there has been an increasing stream of migration from Ethiopia to the Gulf countries. The majorities of regular labor migrants from Ethiopia are women and were employed as domestic workers. Similarly, the primary destinations in the first decade of the 21st century were Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, although there was a steady flow of migrants that made their way to other Gulf countries, particularly the UAE.

Still, significant labor forces (young women and men) from Ethiopia are migrating to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. According to Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (2014:19) starting from 2006, at least 334,000 irregular migrants from Ethiopian had arrived in Yemen to seek for economic opportunities.

The pushing factors of illegal migration by Ethiopians are unemployment, low salaries, scarce land accessibility and fertility and poverty (Italian Agency of Development Cooperation, 2017:9). In addition to the economic factors, political reasons also forced people to migrate illegally from their homelands. According to Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (2017:5) Ethiopians increasingly leaving their country refer to political unrest and oppression. This is due to, the state of emergency declared by the Ethiopian government in October 2016 following months of violent anti-government protests.

For this reasons, the government of Ethiopia has established the National Council against Human Trafficking and Smuggling in June 2012 headed by top level officials. In the meantime the National Council issued Proclamation 909 on 17 August 2015, entitled “the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants”. The draft legislation put 25 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment or fines up to 500,000 Ethiopian Birr for aggravated trafficking, which may feature physical violence and drugging (Sahan Foundation and IGAD Security Sector Program, 2016:33). Though the Council drafted and issued proclamation to curb the problem, continuous awareness rising campaigns needs to be implemented to inform family members of migrants and refugees about the danger of illegal migration and provide information to those responsible for smuggling and trafficking their relatives out of Ethiopia.

2.1.7 Coverage of Illegal Migration by Ethiopian Media

Beginning from recent years the issue of illegal migration has become serious agenda for the government, non-government organizations and media institutions in Ethiopia. Particularly, from 2015 onwards the print and electronic media found in the country massively covered the issue of illegal migration. Similarly, private media in many of their reports paid attention towards the situation of Ethiopian migrants in Yemen, Libya and South Africa. For instance, from June to July 2017 ‘Sheger’ FM (one of the private FM station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) frequently broadcasted the condition of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia and initiate families of migrants to convince their children or relatives to return back to their homeland.

The other interesting information released by the private magazine named Sheger Times (published and distribute every 15 days). This magazine in December 2017 presented detail analysis about Ethiopian migrants in Yemen and Libya under Amharic subtitle “ለዜጎቹጩኽትመንግስትለምንቸልተኛሆነ ?” or “why the governments negligent of its citizen cry?” The magazine mentioned in a total of nine pages the physical and mental abuse, torture and death of Ethiopian young men and women in Yemen and Libya. The reporters of this magazine had interviewed Ethiopian migrants who sheltered in Dubai Consulate General office of Ethiopia. According to the interview, most of migrants there were psychologically and physically abused and they were treated heartlessly by their employers. At the end, the magazine suggested the government of Ethiopia to implement protection mechanisms to safeguard Ethiopian migrants from inhuman acts (Sheger Times Vol.1 No. 21:2017:6-14)

However, media reporting trend in Ethiopia in relation to illegal migration is not far from problems. Practically, print and electronic media covered the issue of illegal migration at some point when the problem is happened. For example, the dreadful death of Ethiopian migrants in Yemen and Libya by human smugglers and terrorist organization catches the attention of different media and covered the incident in a hot tone. In terms of reaching out to audiences, majority of news coverage in relation to illegal migration is conducted by FM stations targeted Addis Ababa City (the capital city of Ethiopia) and its surroundings. These types of media are still urbanized in content, scope and circulation.

2.1.8 Brief descriptions of Fana FM, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs

A. Fana Broadcasting Corporate

Radio in Ethiopia has long history; it was introduced during the reign of Emperor Hailesilassie I in 1941(Debebe, 2007). But the coverage expanded after the end of the imperial rule in 1974. After the 1974 revolution, the military rule called Dergue confiscated Voice of the Gospel religious media station owned by Lutheran World Federation. The expansion of radio coverage and media ownership in Ethiopia was observed after the year 1991. The then Transitional Government ratified proclamation to remove censorship that hinders the expansion of private media (Debebe, 2007).

The birth of Fana radio was related to the fight against the Dergue regime. The radio station served as voice of Liberation (Voice of EPRDF) before its establishment as “Radio Fana S.Co. However, the radio station reestablished in 1994 and become the Nation’s first commercial National Broadcaster and multi-lingual Radio Station. Radio Fana owned by four regional endowments such as EFFORT, TIRET, TUMSA and Wondo. Its capital reached to 100 million birr while grew in to Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.Co in January 2011. It operates through three SW, one MW and 7 FM transmitters Nation-wide. Currently, the media station launched television program through Nile sat. Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) in its FM radio station and television programs provides information regarding migration through news, interviews, discussions and entertainments (drama) to audiences of Ethiopia. (FBC official website, 2017).

B. Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcaster have 1,500 employees and with many freelancers from 60 countries. The DW headquarter is found in Bonn and main studio is in Berlin. DW reaches more than 157 million people in the weekly bases. Deutsche Welle began its first Amharic radio program for Ethiopian audience on March 15, 1965 during the reign of Emperor Hailesilassie. At that time, ambassador of the Ethiopian empire was forwarded his message to DW’s short wave radio listeners on the Horn of Africa. Accordingly, Ethiopia was selected because of the international standing of Emperor Hailesilassie and the country’s role in Pan-Africanism. The establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) headquarter in Addis Ababa was also initiated DW to launch Amharic radio program through short wave.

Starting from 1991 DW, has got more popularity in Ethiopia and its audiences increased throughout the country. However, the short wave signal have been frequently jammed in Ethiopia in recent years and audiences heard the DW Amharic programs by other electronic channels like Nile sat, face book and by other links. DW Amharic has large number of audiences in Ethiopia and Facebook fans. Considerable numbers of people follow the programs and engage in discussions with the editors in Bonn in Facebook chats. Currently, DW Amharic service transmitted seven days a week in all over Ethiopia and covers issues of migration in the global context and frequently transmits the situations of Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East. (DW official website, 2017).


Excerpt out of 114 pages


The contributions of media in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia
The case of Fana FM, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America Amharic Radio Programs
Addis Ababa University  (Graduate School of Journalism and Communication)
Journalism and Communication
Very Good
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Well done at all and the issue raised in the paper is very significant for researchers and for those who are out of the academic zones like social experts.
ethiopia, fana, deutsche, welle, voice, america, amharic, radio, programs
Quote paper
Firesenay Gebeyehu Behailu (Author), 2018, The contributions of media in minimizing illegal migration in Ethiopia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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