(Aigaforum 03/08/10)- Ethiopian media in the country, be they government affiliated or private, have been mute on the news of an ARENA candidate death in Tigrai. Without a vibrant media who can play as watch man, running clean and fair election may be a tall task in Ethiopia. With the election nearing, allegations are flying everywhere and the public is not well informed. An ill informed public could be swayed by demagogues and imposters and that cannot be good for democracy.
The government and EPRDF are accused daily with all kinds of wrong doings. One of the recent among many is the killing of Aite Aregawi GebreYohanis(bless his soul). Thanks to VOA Tigirgna, Betre Seltan has interviewed a close relative of the deceased who was an eye witness to the crime. Listen to VOA interview
The Government media response to this crime was reporting it as simple news, from their warm office in Addis. No one ventured to go to the area and investigate. If they did the public does not know it yet! The private media coverage of this story is dismal The private media has a love affair with covering a fence built here and there by the rich in Addis, and with Meles said this and that. They never venture outside Addis, forget Addis, we are not even sure if they venture out of Bole and Chechnya street (red district in Addis) to cover a story. Most of their stories are based on hearsays and almost all their stories are about Addis.
How can the public know what is true and what is false with 90 or so political organizations accusing each other? The government at times plays “Jero Daba Lebes” (no hear no see) to a story instead of dispatching reporters to cover the story. What are reporters from Radio Fana doing in Addis? From Walta doing in Addis and what about those from angafaw ENA? Is there a problem that could not be solved with these institutions? Thanks Reporter, your coverage about the fence in Old Air port was marvelous…in fact we may forward it to the Pulitzer folks in New York for an award. Sad! All sarcasm aside it is high time that reporters get out of Addis and cover the election; it is an historic event that will be remembered for ages. It is also a historic time that newscasters make every effort to cover activities where our majority of Ethiopians live namely our farmers and pastoralists!
We hope our young private media and government affiliated media start to cover the election if not for anything else for the sake of the many thousands of people who died so Ethiopians today could exercise their democratic right.