By Bilal Derso
Al Jazeera’s decision to open its Regional Office in Addis Ababa showcased the ever-widening Ethio-Qatar relationship in the media sector, Office Director says.
Director of the Al Jazeera Regional Office, Mohammed Teha Tewekel tells The Ethiopian Herald that the decision is the manifestation of Qatar’s keenness to bolster its multifaceted relation with Ethiopia.
Commending Ethiopia’s principled stand on the Gulf Crises and its support for Kuwait-led peace process, Tewekel notes that Qatar considered Ethiopia among its strategic partners in Africa and desirous to enhance the partnership in political, economic and social frontiers.
The Director states that Al Jazeera selected Addis Ababa for its Regional Office taking in to account Ethiopia’s dominant political and economic role in East Africa and the rapid economic progress the country has registered over the past decade as well as; it is a host of Headquarters of the AU and the UNECA as well as the seat of various multilaterally and bilaterally accredited missions, delegations and institutions.
He says: ” We will provide in-depth analysis, documentaries and news reports about Ethiopia and the international institutions based in the country including the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Arabic, English and French mediums.”
Tewekel further notes that Al Jazeera signed an agreement with Government Communication Affairs Office to offer a two month professional and technical trainings up to 40 journalists from both public and private media in Doha, Qatar annually.
Stating the training would have a pivotal role in addressing skill gaps in Ethiopia’s media sector, the Director notes that the Regional Office would also provide trainings for up to 200 perspective graduates in TV anchoring, documentary program and other courses in broadcast journalism.
According to Tewekel, Al Jazeera would serve as a bridge between Ethiopia and the rest of the world by promoting the ongoing progress of the nation for its over 600 million followers.
“Recently Al Jazeera produced a program on Eid-Al-Adha prayer in Addis Ababa Stadium where hundreds of thousands Ethiopian Muslims taking part. By doing so, it disseminated a message for the world that Ethiopia is a country where religious equality is ensured,” the Director notes.
It was states that Al Jazeera’s Regional Office in Addis Ababa would become fully operational at the beginning of 2018.
Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar and owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. It is a major global news organization with 80 bureaus around the world.
Ethio-Qatar relation has shown progress since the resumption of diplomatic ties in 2012 which was manifested by high-level visits by officials of the respective countries, signing of various agreements as well as a tour of cultural troupe and recommencement of direct flights.