Former beauty-pageant-winner-turned-singer Sayat Demissie vilified the Ethiopian media collectively on negative reportings saying they had no room whatsoever for constructive stories.
“In this country, the media work by tarnishing the people we love and respect,” she said at a press conference held at Harmony Hotel on Thursday. The press conference was held following an arbitration decision between her and Seifu Fantahun, host of Tadias Addis, a program on Shaggar Radio.
The conflict arose between the two parties after a radio program aired on July 9 accused Sayat of doing a concert in America without adequate preparations and rehearsals. On the show, Seifu alleged that the singer had to lip-sync, and that she did the show just to make money. Following the allegation made by the radio host, Sayat instituted a legal suit on charges of defamation and image tarnishing, which led to the arbitration and hence the press conference.
“It is amazing to see how the good sides in every story are missing. We are running out of role models because of the media. And I do not understand the purpose of doing these and I always ask the journalists why they do not put their energy on positive matters, rather than hurting people,” commented Sayat with anguish. She noted that the Ethiopian media as whole are fixated on reporting only the bad side, while the success stories are left uncovered.
Furthermore, Sayat also draws on her experience abroad to compare the local media with those in the West. In comparison to the one in the West, the Ethiopian media lacked balance. “How do they sell a paper without writing unbalanced stories? In other countries, when they insult you, they also balance it with some positive aspects,” Sayat said.
According to Sayat, the source of her anger and frustration are the media not recognizing her efforts and contributions to music and the film industry. “We toil for 24 hours; we work hard in the studio; but this part is never in the media,” she said.
On the other hand, Sayat said that the low level of turnout for the press conference is another showcase for the media’s thirst for negative information over the positive. “If this specific news briefing was about the conflict, we would have seen some 60 media houses here. But, unfortunately, it is about peaceful arbitration.”
The members of the media present at the press conference, nevertheless, did not agree with the comments made by the singer and some journalists accused her of unfairness and crude generalization.