Recently, media coverage of Ethiopia has fittingly increased as the one-party dictatorship of the country massacres innocent Ethiopian children and students peacefully protesting the unjust landgrabs in Oromia.
While the media coverage is encouraging, some irresponsible foreign journalists have taken the unethical short-cut by broadcasting rumors and social media heresay as historical facts. The latest major error was made by Bloomberg media company’s journalist William Davison who claimed that “Oromo settlements were colonized to establish Addis Ababa.” (1.18.16)
Addis Ababa was not and is not Oromo land or Amhara land, et all; it is an ETHIOPIAN land. Falsely suggesting that it belongs to one tribe is wrong and can trigger ethnic conflict.
If Mr Davison needs basic history info, Addis Ababa (and the area by Entoto mountain) was in fact part of the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Shewa, long before Adal Sultanate brutally occupied it and centuries before ethnic Oromos moved there. More importantly, modern Addis Ababa was created in 1880s via cooperation between Shewan Oromos and Shewan Amharas as well as mixed Ethiopians of various multi-ethnic background.
This is a second time this Bloomberg journalist made a big mistake in recent days. On his Dec 14, 2015 article on Bloomberg website, Mr Davison published false rumors without investigating and reported ongoing “ethnic clashes” between Oromo and Amhara civilians. But several weeks later, nobody else has yet to see evidence or even heard of the so-called “ethnic clashes” that Mr Davison reported.
It is vital that big media journalists do not publish rumors on sensitive subjects that could enflame problems further.
It is also vital to avoid “falsehood by omission” since no media has so far mentioned the two underlying causes of the current crisis in Oromia. The first main cause is the illegal preferential treatment Tigrayan companies enjoy in doing business, and on acquiring land in the urban.
The second main cause is the unrealistic one-ethnic-federalism policy of the regime that radicalized and gave false hope to some Oromos using bantustan-like segregation inside our multi-ethnic nation. For example, in Addis Ababa the unmixed pure ethnic Oromos makeup only about 10 percent of the population. And nearby Oromia towns falling under the “Master plan,” like Walmara and Sebeta towns, are actually 35-50 % Amharas, mixed-Amharas, Gurages and mixed Oromos. (But the media reports as if only “Oromo farmers” exist.) By ignoring such diversity, the divisive federalism policy of the regime has already triggered dangerous tribalism that will always hamper even wellmeaning future development projects.
The G.E.M. group urges big media journalists to display professionalism and set a good example by reporting the truth.
The G.E.M. is a worldwide advocacy group for millions of mixed “ethnic Ethiopians” (of two or more parental ethnicity) who are marginalized under the current regime in Addis Ababa. Ethnic Ethiopians are arguably the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.