Mahibere Kidusan, a religious association affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church (EOTC) called on Monday for Ethiopian government media regulatory board, the Ethiopia Media Authority (EMA) to reinstate its TV Channel.
EMA in a letter issued on Sunday said Mahibere Kidusan TV channel license has been temporarily suspended after publishing an “inflammatory message” designed to disturb the meeting of the EOTC Holy Synod which was concluded a day later.
In a two-page public letter it issued, Mahibere Kidusan said it doesn’t believe a program which it aired on Sunday violates Ethiopia’s 2021 Media proclamation.
Mahibere Kidusan TV channel had on Sunday morning published an information reportedly about efforts to ordain new bishops with a majority vote from EOTC Synod members in violation of the church’s canonical rule that prescribes that appointment of new bishops happen through consensus from all EOTC Synod members.
The information published by Mahbere Kidusan media outlet indicated that EOTC church leaders are also being pressured to appoint new bishops based on ethnicity and political affiliation.
Mahibere Kidusan letter further said EMA’s measure on its TV channel amounts to interference in religious matters and that the program the TV channel run on Sunday had no relation to other religious denominations.
The statement also disputed EMA’s authority to undertake immediate license suspension of a media outlet, pointing out Ethiopia’s 2021 media proclamation doesn’t provide such powers to EMA.
The administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is widely believed to be orchestrating the division inside the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church as the PM reportedly tries to exert total control over Ethiopia’s oldest continuous religious denomination.