The new fronts of information warfare against Ethiopia

Since the onset of the law enforcement operation in Tigray State, the low-rated international media outlets have been spreading untrustworthy information that does not reflect the honest truth unfolding countrywide. It is evident that the country was between the hammer and the anvil following the nefarious deeds of some western media outlets that have been fanning the flames. In consideration of the foregoing, Ethiopia managed to pass through many twists and turns.

However, in due course, through the coordinated efforts of Ethiopians residing at home and abroad, the country ended up foiling the heinous deeds of the media outlets. Notwithstanding the fact that the media outlets moved heaven and earth to turn the tables on Ethiopia, they failed to actualize the desired objective according to expectations.

In the aftermath of their misguided policy towards Ethiopia, the media outlets have been persistently weaning themselves from the unvarnished truth and failing to lift the lid. As their propaganda machines continuously produce and spread abundant fake news, they were able to perplex the international community in a number of instances.

Albeit the ultimate goal of the media outlets was to bring the terrorist TPLF group to power, they failed to pursue their objectives given that the truth is on Ethiopia’s side.

It is absurd indeed that some western media outlets left no stone unturned to create chaos and put the lives of noncombatants at risk by taking sides with the terrorist TPLF group. In the face of continued pressure and defamation from internal and external actors, Ethiopia managed to stand tall and resist challenges.

In a similar vein, forming alliances with the terrorist TPLF group, the so-called international media outlets have been whitewashing atrocities perpetrated in various parts of Afar and Amhara states. Instead of turning the tide and normalizing the circumstances, the media outlets have been upping the ante and endeavoring to back the country into a corner.

In the present climate, as always, some of the low-rated international media outlets have continued mystifying the international community with misleading information. Their evil deeds have demonstrated no sign of decelerating.

In the wake of the hidden agenda of some western media outlets, quite a lot of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia have been counteracting the coordinated camping against Ethiopia. They have been as well countering the ongoing smear campaign against Ethiopia by supplying the international community with indisputable truth.

While calculatingly condemning the incumbent government, the so-called media outlets have been giving the cold shoulder to the shocking summary killing, and other criminal acts perpetrated by the terrorist group. Sadly, they have been demonstrating a one-sided approach getting off journalistic ethics and standards more than ever.

Amidst a new preparation of the terrorist TPLF group to restart attack against Ethiopia, a new front of information warfare is being waged against Ethiopia by the partnership of some international human rights groups and media outlets.

Lately, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and BBC carried out wrong information in their so-called ‘Western Tigray’ atrocities. The Ethiopian government and Amhara State have been quick to expose the defamatory reports urging the organizations to retract their biased statements.

Responding to BBC recent fake story, University of Gondar that was accused of eliminating evidence said that the University of Gondar unequivocally rejects the defamatory allegations which are unbefitting to our educational institution. The University of Gondar is one of the most respected research-based educational institutions in Ethiopia which is devoted to solving some of society’s pressing issues through evidence-based research and community engagement. As one of the few higher research institutions in the country, we have an immense responsibility to uncover and bring to light those issues that are of importance to the general population, the university added.

As part of the aforementioned mandated responsibilities, the University of Gondar has been conducting a yearlong comprehensive study of decades-long evidence on alleged gross human rights violations committed against the Amhara people living in Welkaite, Tegede, and Telemt by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Consistent with human rights organizations’ standards and academic research integrity, the University’s research team discovered that thousands of Amharas were killed and buried in mass following the forceful annexation of the above-stated areas to the Tigray region in the mid-1990s. The research team uncovered a systematic consortium of mass graves the TPLF used to bury Amharas who participated in the resistance movement that was against the annexation of said lands into Tigray. The research team held a press conference regarding the findings on April 7, 2022.

The University of Gondar is shocked that a global news network with the stature of the BBC would publish such fabrications without an iota of evidence. The research team’s only motive is to scientifically investigate the reported acts of genocide committed against the local Amhara inhabitants in Welkite, Tegede, and Telemt over the past 40 years.

No such evidence of “Tigrayan mass graves” was ever discovered as alleged by the free-lance journalist. However, if any such graves of Tigrayans were discovered, the research team and the University of Gondar would have been the first to acknowledge and provide the evidence.

Writing in a tone that resembles TPLF propaganda, the article’s goal seems to be to tarnish the meticulous research and reputation of our experts and the University of Gondar. Such journalism lacks integrity and is unscientific in its nature. The seriousness of the current accusations and the ill intent the report intended to inflict on our institution is a clear attempt to censor the freedom of scientific exploration. Loose and unsubstantiated claims without evidence, as reported by the journalist, can be detrimental to the mission and vision of education everywhere and must be investigated by the BBC with the utmost attention, according to the university.

“We believe the BBC, as an international news outlet, has a weighty responsibility to safeguard the scientific flow and dissemination of educational institutions’ research and a strict and methodical editorial process should be followed moving forward when defamatory reporting is made against institutions of higher learning.

We call on the BBC to retract this article, properly investigate the author, check the validity of the sources, and investigate the editorial process that was followed.”

Similarly, the American photojournalist Jemal Countess has blamed “The Guardian” newspaper for misuse and repurpose of his photographs taken from the Sekota refugee camp in Amhara region to support the TPLF’s merits.

“The Guardian” had used one of the photographs captured by Countess in Sekota of the Amhara Regional State in Ethiopia to illustrate an alleged “ethnic cleansing” story in Tigray region and based on Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that the Ethiopian government categorically rejected, according to Information obtained from Ethiopian News Agency.

The photograph was taken by the American photojournalist in March 30, 2022 and portrayed a group of internally displaced women from the Wag Hemra Zone sitting together in a shelter at the Meberat Hayl IDP camp.

Approached by ENA, Countess said “The Guardian” misrepresented the location and time of the photograph at the Sekota refugee camp for Amhara fleeing TPLF when he had taken it during his visit in the area.

By changing the photo caption in its recent publication, he pointed out that this media outlet used the photo as a joint report for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

According to him, the changes to the caption in recent publications are dishonest.

“But ethically speaking you are supposed to use the photo and context and include the caption or at least make mention of the caption of the context of the photo. They basically ignored everything.”

The journalist note that this happens so frequently with “The Guardian” that it is just kind of lost. “I don’t know how to say it without really, you know, the publication down so to speak. But I mean it does cast its credibility and its ethical standards into doubt.”

He stated that this media sticks a photo on to an article that favors Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s report.

“It basically is a stab at the suffering of the people in the photo. It is a kind of a big middle finger to everybody else. You know, because this is just the other aspect of it is just like they are basically working with the TPLF and may have a couple of staff members that are affiliated with the TPLF.”

The photo misused and repurposed to support the TPLF merits has to really look at the fact that this network that TPLF leaders built, owned and ran the media operations of the whole time when they were in power, Countess underscored.

In fact, according to information obtained from Counter Punch war is big, loud, and significant and attracts an audience; media likes it.

In all conflicts mainstream media plays a crucial role, often inflammatory, feeding the discord through a particular narrative. Western media claims it is independent, but this is fallacious; corporate owned or State sponsored, it is conditioned by a particular world-view,ideologically/politically, nationalistically, historically.

To sum up, the more often something is repeated, the louder the drumbeat of insistence on its truth, no matter how incredible it may be. In this regard, Ethiopians should stand to defend their country both in battlefields and in the media frontiers.


The Ethiopian herald may 12/2022

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