C S. H. N. Murthy


The paper discusses various dimensions of a complex situation arising out of the conflictbetween the media and the state, and the raging conflict between the general perception ofdemocracy and the Eritrean government’s perception of it. This is within the context of a fastdeveloping global village of which all African states will be members one day. Eritrea, thoughliberated in 1991 from Ethiopian rule, shares many characteristics of other dictatorial regimesin the neighboring countries. The state-run electronic and print media, centralized economy,lack of a parliamentary election process, independent judiciary, and suppression of fundamentalrights, especially the freedom of expression, mark the dictatorial character of the regime inEritrea in contrast to the accepted conventions of democracy in the West. The Eritreangovernment promotes a democratic model in which democratization is sought through education.Achieving democratization is limited to holding regular elections to local bodies at grass-rootlevel. By the Government’s not holding elections to its Parliament, the present policies ofgovernance have not only turned deviant from its own once highly avowed and publicizedmacro-policy and the Constitution, but also have become vulnerable to mounting criticism. Thepresent study, supported by a survey of the opinion of a random sample of people via mobile aswell as Internet channels by means of open-ended questions, offers a snapshot of the growingdesire of the people for full implementation of the Constitution, a liberalized economy and thefree media, which their counterparts enjoy in many European countries.

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