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Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed to return to Ethiopia as OMN opens Addis office

by Daniel Mumbere

US-based Oromo Media Network (OMN), which was banned for inciting violence and promoting terrorism, has opened an office in Ethiopia, the privately owned Addis Standard website reports.

The development follows the weekend announcement by Ethiopia’s government that 264 media outlets including websites, bloggers and TV channels, OMN inclusive, would have their access restored in line with ongoing reforms.

“Oromo Media Network, which was facing terrorism charges until recently, has inaugurated its office in #AddisAbaba today,” tweeted Addis Standard.

Oromo Media Network, which was facing terrorism charges until recently, has inaugurated its office in Addis Ababa today.

0460bc76904a0d855bc21fe7abb06852 normalAddis Standard@addisstandard

#Ethiopia: @OromiaMedia, which was facing terrorism charges until recently, has inaugurated its office in #AddisAbeba today. Dr. Negeri Lencho, #Oromia region communication bureau head, said at the event that he was happy the media will no longer work from “mobile phones.”

Minnesota-based OMN was banned in Ethiopia in February 2017 after the government said it belonged to “terrorist” organisations, but the ban was lifted last month as part of reforms being undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

In May, Ethiopia’s attorney general dropped charges against OMN, and its executive director, Jawar Mohammed.

Addis Standard also reported that following the inauguration of the OMN office in Ethiopia, its director, who is also a prominent Oromo activist, would be travelling back to Ethiopia on August 06, 2018.

Several other critics of the previous administration including opposition politicians have announced intentions to return home, saying they are encouraged by ongoing reforms championed by the new prime minister.

5 Comments

  1. It is wonderful to hear that a Person who was indulging on anti-Ethiopian sentiment & promoting a crusade against the children of God in Ethiopia who happened to be of Christian faith reformed himself to be part of reconciliation & unity. The role that this guy was playing in divisive dirty politics cannot be forgotten. There are political thugs playing sectarian & tribal politics to advance their personal agenda to enrich their pockets or making a living by their dirty politics beside the oppressive EPRDF. He wasn’t fighting the dictatorial EPRDF but Ethiopanism. The proof is in the pudding. He’s a narrow-minded ethnocentric political operative, no matter what he says; the leopard cannot change its spots. But it is the time of reconciliation & unity. Let us give him a chance to prove me wrong because in the time national Crisis I prefer to be wrong than right in my judgement of this man. I hope that he will be man enough to say that he was wrong in his political approach for the last few years promoting his religious belief & tribalism. During the reign of terror by EPRDF, all Ethiopians without any exception suffered the brunt of oppression minus those in collusion with the murderous undemocratic EPRDF. The Tigreans, the Amharas, the Oromos, the Gambellas, the Debubs, all Ethiopians were indiscriminately tested the abuse of the EPRDF. Let this man come out as true Ethiopian to correct himself by declaring that he pledges his allegiance to Ethiopia and he won’t engage anymore in tribal & divisive politics. Till then I will stay wrapped in the blankets of my doubts about him. Ethiopia’s beauty is its diversity. Let us accept, recognize, realize, respect, and be proud of it. United we win and divided we lose.

  2. Good news. Now this new and rewarding development should be used wisely as the entire Ethiopian people were the ones who granted total amnesty thru their representatives. The nation’s parliament has made the amnesty the nation’s law today. So no mouth with calling others names on things that unfortunately happened in the stone age of yesterday. It is no time any more to feed on people’s emotions but rather the time to do whatever we can as an individual to lift the people of every ethnic group out of that nagging poverty. Oromia has millions living in abject poverty. So are the Amhara, Afar, Somalia, Tigray and every other ethnic group. That is a monumental task, a tall order but it can be accomplished in harmony and not by poking the eyes of others. My own Oromos will never be able to drag themselves out of wretchedness alone. That will never happen. They need the company of others in such arduous task. Every elite should take him/herself to task in cleaning his/her nose of bigotry and hostile attitude toward others on ethnic or religious lines. Godspeed!!!!

  3. I read the following on an obscure blog spot which I thought will be useful for anyone interested on media issues. I have not having asked and obtained permission the publishers (Entoto Forum for Social Justice) to freely reproduce it. My apologies!

    “What about ESAT’s director?

    I think Jawar Mohammed is OMN’s director. The report above suggests that Jawar is going to Ethiopia to run the media outlet he directs from within the country itself where the action is right now. Great move, Jawar.

    Many Ethiopians expect ESAT’s director to do the same, but in one of their regular shows (ELETAWI) aired this week (Youtube, Tuesday, June 26) the director implied that he has no plan to move ESAT to Ethiopia (listen from minutes 44.02 to 46.22 ).

    The director’s reason is shortage of resources which is essentially money. ESAT never publishes how much money it collects from which sources, but the number and types of extravagant shows it runs every day suggests that it not strapped of cash. What’s surprising is, at a moment when five minutes air time costs a lot of money, most of the ESAT guys have their private shows.

    All the same, if ESAT is cash strapped, it can look for a means to generate income from sources such as ads in addition to the fund it gets from certain states and non – state actors and contributions of subscribers and casual supporters. Overall, resources do not appear sufficient reason to stay in the diaspora. What’s lacking is the will.
    Running a studio as big as ESAT’s in North America and Europe and numerous private programs which exemplify wastefulness will surely be expensive than running relevant programs within and from Ethiopia.

    A media outlet that claims to be an “eye and ear” of the people and openly brags about its contribution to the reform taking place right now, cannot shy away when the country is opening up in all respects.

    ETV, EBS, FANA and many other private and public media in the country are doing fantastic job. Their young and vibrant journalists are enjoying the recently acquired freedom and are ploughing through the murky situation. They appear to lack experience but they are learning, catching up and will soon excel ESAT and the diaspora media simply because they are on the ground.

    ETV, EBS, FANA will be the source of facts which is badly needed while ESAT guys will sit to add spin on the facts they get from these sources. And that’s not journalism.)”

  4. I share the first comment in its entirety. A very good observation. Jawar is changing his color as it suits him. Deep inside his poisonous politics is very evident.

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