Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (February 15, 2023): The production and dissemination of content has been shaped and reshaped by the ever-changing communication technology. The public’s consumption of content has also shown a tremendous change in light of abundant information available across the digital and mainstream media.

Dialogue on wheels: Pilot dialogue held on the grey areas of consent

Ethiopia’s youth, while making up the majority of the population, has been overlooked in the discussions of issues both at a local and national level. Finding a space that fosters the youth’s “dialogue culture” on relevant socio-economic, cultural, and political issues that significantly impact their lives is rare. If the media is to serve the public by providing a platform suitable to discuss issues of critical importance, it is imperative to design and properly implement a dialogue format that attracts and informs all actors including the media, civil society, and the public. Because the country’s future rests on the shoulders of the youth, creating a space for the youth to discuss issues that impact their life and decision-making process is both timely and relevant.

With this in mind, Mersa Media Institute in partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie conducted a series of workshops aimed at designing a dialogue format that helps entertain the interest and priorities of the youth. The ideation process resulted in an innovative multimedia dialogue format called dialogue taxi. This dialogue format aims to bring youth from all walks of life to discuss timely and pertinent issues. While holding two major components: the van and studio components, the dialogue format would help bring relevant topics to the table. The most striking feature of the van component is that the dialogue takes place as the interlocutors (dialogue participants) travel to their point of destination in a taxi. Since the dialogue taxi moves in different city quarters, the potential to involve the youth with different real-life experiences is high. Meanwhile, the studio segment aims to bring the same issue to a different set of participants in a venue where a more formal discussion could take place and hence, contribute to the advancement of discussions on the chosen topic.

Following the ideation of this innovative dialogue format, Mersa Media Institute set out to film its very first pilot episode to create a dialogue centered around the theme of “consent as it is portrayed by the media”. 

Participants of the Dialogue Taxi pilot

Youths from different walks of life shared their thoughts and experiences on the topic as our taxi took them to their point of destination. The dialogue was thought-provoking as various voices and sentiments were shared, discussed, and even debated. With no spoilers, you are cordially invited to join our dialogue series and contribute your share on the most burning issues of the youth. Check out our pilot episode CLICK HERE.