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What happened to ethics in Journalism in the West?

By Admasu Workneh

Is investigative reporting, honesty, credibility, fairness and impartiality dead? What happened to the standard of professional journalism? Are we to assume that ethics in journalism only protects the rich and famous? Are reporters in the West mainly concerned about money, and advertisement? Today’s headline is forgotten tomorrow, ratings, who is watched and who is not dominates the media domain. Is the media in the West the exclusive possession of the rich? Those who are wealthy and powerful get a fair shake. Does Africa even matter to the media elites in the West? Sub-Saharan Africa has over a billion population, does anybody believe Africa gets fair and honest reporting by the Western media? Sadly, the only thing we hear about Africa is war, starvation, famine and conflict. The growth of the middle class, the development of urban centers and cities, the progress in health and education, the potential of agricultural production, the beauty of Ethiopia and Africa, the dynamism, tenacity and potential of Ethiopia’s and Africa’s youth is deliberately ignored. Is racism at play here? The narrative that Africans are incapable of governing themselves, poverty is widespread, they are divided and tribal is the prevailing attitude in the Western media.

As an Ethiopian I am insulted by the bias, misinformation, and outright lies by the Western media concerning the conflict in my homeland Ethiopia. The condescending attitude, the negativity, the fake sympathy for Tigray at the expense of Ethiopia is revolting. Of course, war is a news story. It should be reported. But the media has the responsibility not to take sides and it has the obligation to report the truth. Fairness and impartiality are critical. In the case of Ethiopia, if the Western media is truly interested in finding out the cause behind the Ethiopian conflict, the media should ask these questions: What kind of organization is TPLF? What is the political philosophy of TPLF? Who caused ethnic division and segregation in Ethiopia? What is ethnic federalism? Why did TPLF break Ethiopia’s internal boundaries by ethnicity when it gained power in 1991? Who started the current conflict in Ethiopia? Why did TPLF attack and slaughter soldiers in the northern command stationed in Tigray? Who is fanning the flame of tribalism in Ethiopia? Why has TPLF branded Amhara as its enemy? Who in this conflict wants to see the destruction and breakup of Ethiopia? Is there any government in the world that wants to see the dissolution of its own country? Who in this conflict is using child soldiers to fight a war? Why is TPLF despised by many Ethiopians? Does TPLF believe in democracy? Does TPLF accept the principle of one man one vote? TPLF has looted Ethiopia’s wealth for the last twenty-seven years, is plunder and stealing condoned by the Western media?

There is a credibility issue with the media when it comes to reporting the conflict in Ethiopia. Is it arrogance or ignorance, which one is it? The liberal media in the West has a sheep mentality. Without research, investigation, and direct knowledge, news agencies follow each other in tandem and report fake TPLF stories as if it is credible. At one time TPLF was a Marxist/Leninist communist organization. As disciples of Marxism, they are capable of deceiving liberal elites in the West easily. Tedros Adhanom TPLF’s politburo member has faked the liberal elites and media conglomerates in the West to become the head of WHO. This is an organization that will do and say anything. Pathological liar does not describe TPLF quite enough. Hypocrisy and lies are its trademark. Thanks to the TPLF’s rigid, narrow-minded and backward position, it has plunged Tigray and part of Amhara and Afar into a war zone. TPLF has a plan to create Greater Tigray by breaking Ethiopia apart. Shouldn’t the media ask what TPLF is doing in Woldiya, Lalibela, Dessie, Hayk, and Kombolcha? What is the reason for the incursion to Amhara and Afar? The claim that TPLF is fighting for the people of Tigray is nauseating. Greater Tigray is fiction. It is the figment of TPLF’s imagination.

Shame on CNN, shame on the New York times, Washington Post, AP, NPR, BBC, Reuters and other reputable media organs in the West. Does the press have its own agenda? Is the free press really free? Does the label fake media fit some media outlets? Rather than reporting the news fairly, rather than making people understand the reason for the conflict in Ethiopia, media outlets in the West have taken the side of TPLF. There are two sides to a story, but to report the version of TPLF as the truth is being dishonest. War is a terrible thing. The Ethiopian people clearly understand the consequence of war, and many are feeling the brunt of TPLF’s aggression but to put demands on Ethiopia to capitulate to a force that wants the destruction of the country is not fair. The intransigence, the refusal of TPLF to accept new realities are never told by the media. Its war mongering, its military incursion into Amhara and Afar regions are quietly encouraged by foreign forces. TPLF to date has not renounced its hate propaganda against the Amhara people. It has not once admitted its mistakes. This is an organization that is incapable of admitting mistakes and is fixated on hate and division.

Ethnic federalism constituted by TPLF has caused a lot of misery and division in Ethiopia. TPLF has not once acknowledged that ethnic federalism has gone too far. As a party TPLF has never tried to ease ethnic tension in the country, it has exacerbated the problem. Too much of anything is dangerous! Let us evaluate our position, let us make some changes that would ease ethnic tension is not in TPLF’s character. They are rigid and inflexible as ever. Has the TPLF apologized for the massacre of soldiers of the northern command? Have they apologized to the people of Tigray and the rest of Ethiopians for starting a reckless war? TPLF lost power three years ago, losing political power is nothing new. A party that believes in democracy re-groups and comes back again. Yet the TPLF leadership does not trust democracy, they want to regain power by force and intimidation. They want to rule a country they hate and despise. TPLF’s paid lobbyists, powerful media outlets and diehard apologists are trying to create an image of TPLF contrary to facts.

The present Ethiopian government did not start the war in Ethiopia, TPLF did. To put the two in equal terms is not right. Prime Minister Abiy may not be perfect, but he is not the architect of ethnic division in Ethiopia. He is not provoking and inflaming ethnic division as his predecessor. While in power TPLF did everything under the sun to create tension and animosity among different ethnic groups in the country. Ethiopiawinet the feeling of belonging to one country and one nation was mocked and ridiculed by TPLF. The media in the United States was appalled with President Trump when he used divisive rhetoric to divide people in the United States, but the same media are now cheering TPLF in Ethiopia who has done far worse to create ethnic division in Ethiopia. Don’t the views of Ethiopian people matter? Are we a lesser people than the people of the United States? What right does the United States and European Union have to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country especially when they have taken the side of the TPLF? The Western media instead of challenging the policies and strategy of their own government they unfortunately are being used as stooges by TPLF. By broadcasting TPLF’s lie to the world, you have damaged your reputation.

CNN reporter Nima Elbagir, without doing her homework about TPLF’s mischief and intent, and its history did one-sided, biased reporting about rape, killings and lack of humanitarian aid not reaching Tigray as if only the Ethiopian side is responsible for this conflict. She was eager to report the ugly negative narrative and stereotype of Africa to the West. CNN brags that its reporting is having an impact on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on Ethiopia. Does CNN know what kind of organization TPLF is? Would CNN report favorably about groups America considers its enemy? Recently CNN posted an old photo taken in Tigray to claim Addis Ababa is surrounded by the TPLF, the government is about to collapse, fear tactics and outright lies are the wishful thinking of the liberal media and TPLF. War and conflict are a profitable business to the media conglomerates, some journalists in the West want to receive media awards, recognition, accolades and money at the expense of poor Ethiopians. Believe as you will, it is your right, but Ethiopia will overcome this conflict. Ethiopia as a state will continue. Ethiopians agree passionately about their country’s sovereignty! To the Western media I will say this, Ethiopia is not Yugoslavia! Ethiopia is not the Balkans! Ethiopia is not an artificial country created by European colonialism. Ethiopia has existed for a millennium. Ethiopia was not constructed twenty-seven years ago by TPLF. Sure, there will be hard times but If Ethiopians are united no power in the world can break her.

In an unprecedented manner The United Nations Security Council has discussed the conflict in Ethiopia for over ten times. Under the pretense of humanitarian concern, the United States, France, England, Ireland tried on numerous occasions to condemn Ethiopia as the aggressor and perpetrator of the war. Had China, Russia and India not stood by Ethiopia’s side, who knows what would have happened. The United States United Nations Representative Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield does not hide her dislike of the Abiy government in Ethiopia. I have not once heard her say anything negative about TPLF. Her condescending attitude towards Ethiopians, her moralizing statements that the U.S. is concerned about all the Ethiopian people feels empty. The endless accusations aimed at Ethiopia, ethnic cleansing, genocidal war, purposely starving its own people, rape and other horrendous offenses has been thrown at Ethiopia’s feet recklessly. Sadly, the United States along with European nations have become TPLF cheerleaders. Instead of soberly analyzing the conflict, they have blatantly taken one side out of their own selfish national interest. The United States and Europeans are not really concerned about humanitarian aid, they want a puppet government in Ethiopia. The Western media has joined their governments in spreading TPLF’s propaganda. I guess the free and independent media in the West is not free and independent after all. Suggestion and recommendation can be accepted if there is neutrality. If the media is interested in facts, they should analyze the recently released joint report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), an investigation done to see human rights violations and the violation of international humanitarian law in this conflict. According to this report all the media and TPLF lies told ad nauseum seem to be not accurate. The TPLF and its supporters are doing everything in their power to hush this finding.

America you are being deceived by TPLF! President Biden is getting poor advice about Ethiopia from his advisers. For whatever reasons his decision to ally the United States with a terrorist organization is a mistake and a blunder. Shame on the Secretary of State of the United States for taking the side of TPLF. This man does not have any strategic policy plan for Sub-Saharan Africa. He does not have a clue about Ethiopia. He has been fed the Marxist/ Leninist, tribalist, line of TPLF and he has swallowed their lies enthusiastically. How can anyone believe the United States and the Western media anymore about democracy when they support a hideous organization as TPLF. America has imposed sanctions, threats, and all kinds of warnings on the government of Ethiopia. The Biden administration claimed any sanctions will not affect the average Ethiopian citizen, yet recently the United States has planned to remove Ethiopia from The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It is estimated over a million workers will be affected by this act. If this is not a stupid idea, I don’t know what is. What does penalizing workers in manufacturing plants have to do with the current war in Ethiopia? While America is eager to hurt and damage Ethiopia, when it comes to her ally TPLF, I have yet to hear a stern warning by the United States. In fact, behind the public view, it seems the United States has given TPLF its blessing. It is no secret the United States wants to replace Prime Minister Abiy of Ethiopia, a democratically elected Prime Minister and install TPLF back to power. This will never work. If TPLF has not gotten the support from the Biden administration and the Western media. This conflict would have ended a long time ago.

Mr. Blinken for the last twenty-seven years the tribalist/racist policies of TPLF have been tried in Ethiopia and it has failed miserably. For twenty- seven years America blindly supported this group. TPLF’s policy has made Ethiopia a nation full of grievances. By exaggerating and exploiting the ethnic differences of the Ethiopian people, it has made Ethiopians suspicions of each other. When it was in power, TPLF did everything to create hostility and hate among Ethiopia’s diverse people. Somali, Afar, Gambela, Sidama, the people of the South, Benishangul-Gumuz region all became hostage to TPLF’s hateful propaganda. The Amharas were singled out as the enemy of the Tigrayan people. Its manifesto publicly states its hatred towards the Amharas. They did their utmost to create division between the Amhara and the Oromo people. The policy constituted by TPLF known as ethnic federalism has been a disaster in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people have rejected the ethnic apartheid politics of TPLF.

Ethiopians have loudly said enough of ethnic politics, Ethiopians are not warmongers, they are peace loving people, the conflict in the northern part of the country disturbs all Ethiopians than liberal Western journalists, what are Ethiopians to do when TPLF openly wages war to destroy their country? Ethiopians don’t hate America, but they are rightfully upset with the Biden administration. Don’t preach to us about democracy when America is doing everything in her power to twist the arm of the present government and change the outcome of Ethiopia’s election. Secretary Blinken’s statement that America is concerned about humanitarian conditions in Tigray and the Ethiopian government should start a dialog with TPLF is disingenuous. America and the European Union work in tandem supporting TPLF’s agenda. How can anyone believe his message? It is not genuine; it is not honest. Does America have a dialog with groups it considers terrorists? Does America coddle forces that killed its soldiers?

America’s lack of concern for the views of most Ethiopians is bewildering. Ethiopians have expressed their disgust in ethnic politics, yet the United States has organized a group of disgruntled Ethiopians espousing the same failed ideology of TPLF in Washington DC under the banner of so-called federalist/confederalist arrangement. For the United States to push a rejected idea as an alternative is shameful. Under democracy diverse cultures and ethnicities can and do flourish, Ethiopia is no different than any country. TPLF and some disgruntled groups don’t want to flourish under democracy like their fellow countrymen. They are not interested in compromise; they are addicted to grudge and grievance politics. My way, my thinking, my ideology, my ethnicity is the belief of zealots. Fanatical believers don’t know anything about compromise and pluralism. Does the United States or anyone believe the gang of seven, eight or nine, the so-called DC confederalist group are any better than TPLF? Do these people even know what confederal arrangement means? Why should the majority of Ethiopians suffer because of some embittered individuals and groups? Why does the Biden administration want to impose ethnic politics in Ethiopia rather than discouraging it? Ethnic politics is a disaster and most Ethiopians have rejected it except for TPLF and its sympathizers.

The Black Lives Matter is an amazing phenomenon in the United States. It is long overdue! Sub-Saharan Africa has over a billion population, doesn’t the lives of billion Africans matter to the United States? Ethiopia has a population over 100 million people, doesn’t the lives of over 100 million Ethiopians matter to CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC and the rest? Lies and propaganda coming from TPLF should be carefully analyzed before spreading it as truth. If there is such a thing as ethics in journalism in the West, the less fortunate also deserve equitable and fair coverage in the news domain.

Admasu Workneh



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