Balanced Nile and Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Publications are Essential for Mutual Benefits
Balanced Nile and GERD Publications are Essential for Mutual Benefits
By Fekadu W.
Tigrai Online, Dec 12, 2017
Until now, the media in the Nile Basin have been reporting the wrong sides of Nile Cooperation and the GERD to incite conflict.
Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Nov.23/2015 stated that participation of citizens to help finalize the GERD has been strengthening steadfastly. It confirmed that the amount of financial and in kind assistance flowing to the Project has been burgeoning time after time.
The Office said citizens have been contributing a lot to realize the construction of the GERD. The assistance has been continuing unabated despite reluctance of some individuals to pay the amount they pledged on due time. Currently, the Project is witnessing increment as much as 62 percent and it is expected to increase more soon and start up electricity generation.
The Office has lauded the media for their unreserved effort to publicizing the activities being carried out on the GERD. Most of the media at home have been contributing their development share to the completion of the GERD; they are motivating people to participate in the construction and support it as much as they could.
Nevertheless, the media have been working in an on and off manner while reporting about the GERD and Nile Cooperation. The report, feature and article being publicized by them also lack an in depth analysis and it cannot give sufficient information to the desirable level. Most media are reporting based on shallow information they gleaned from single source.
The preliminary survey conducted by the Office has indicated that most media houses are busy reporting issues that are routine. This in turn has been hindering media institutions from giving enough attention to the GERD and Nile Cooperation. Similarly, lack of report based on research, inability to capitalize on essence and meaning of the GERD( plus Nile Cooperation) and its benefit to improve the life of ordinary citizens, limited capacity of journalists to write an in depth analysis are also problems encountered by media practitioners.
It has been recommended that media houses should work in an organized manner. They should also establish their own information repositories to help enhance consistent reporting and provide uninterrupted information to the people. In addition, they are advised (by the Office) to intensify effort and fully inform citizens about the benefit of the GERD (to ordinary citizens and over all poverty alleviation effort of the country).
They can work to help the country forge better relation with downstream countries and publicize the call of the nation to downstream countries that Nile and GERD cooperation are beneficial to all. Most importantly, media at home have to work hard and help assistance of people gather more momentum and discredit fabricated stories being released by irresponsible media in the downstream.
Media may publicize the very fact that all citizens across the country are providing unreserved assistance to the GERD and the Project is sure to be finalized as it is backed by the untiring support of the greater public. They can show that citizens are willingly supporting the project as a symbol of their national pride. Media can also witness Ethiopian Diaspora are supporting the GERD as much as they could.
What so ever the case, media have been lauded for reflecting the very fact that everyone has been contributing his/her own share to augment the construction since the corner stone had been laid by the late PM. They have been reporting about citizens that they have been participating through purchase of bond and contributing in kind. Amazingly, individuals have been sacrificing as far as travelling to the Guba area to provide labor contribution.The Project has continued as emblem of national strength, unity and cooperation. And the media have been leaving their own legacy to depict the rise of Ethiopia at an international level and enhance the GERD as a flag carrier project.
Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 23rd, 2017, had stated that Egyptian public institutions and mass media are making unilateral and partisan publication on Nile, which is absolutely contrary to the agreement of the three countries. It was at the initiative of Ethiopia that the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, were invited to form the Tripartite International Panel of Experts to investigate the impacts of GERD, if any, in good faith and in a transparent manner and share all available information and documentation on the construction of the project.
The initiative was intended to address the concerns of the two downstream countries. To make things worse, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had stated that “no one can touch the water share of Nile, it is a matter of our security; we are capable to secure our share’’. Hence, it could be said that “all options are on the table’’ kind of cliché statement is long gone with colonialists. Colonial mentality is dead and non-functional in this age of Cooperation, CAF and GERD. Fairly speaking, no one to over consume the Nile water share of Egypt. But, equitable sharing and the principle of insignificant impact should be considered in line with the benefit of all Nile riparian’s.
Ethiopia believes time for bragging about Nile is over long long ago and real time has come to sit round the table, negotiate, cooperate and break the stalemate about Nile.Whatsoever, Ethiopia opposes unilateral action of Egyptian media which is hurting the agreement concluded so far.Media in Egypt cannot harvest lasting benefit by propagating unilateral views, except selling prosaic news and advertisement for temporary gains. Farsightedly, Egypt’s benefit will be secured with Cooperation, negotiation and bonafide trust to work with all riparians.
So far, Ethiopia has conducted its independent study on Nile thoroughly and it has come up with the very fact that the GERD does not have any significant impact on the water share of the downstream countries. However, Egyptian media have continued blowing hot and cold may be to sell out their pap publications or wring the hands of Ethiopia through dissemination of fabricated stories.
Nation believes that the notion of mutual benefit and cooperation has been taking root among the Nile Riparian countries. Ethiopia had resolutely commenced the GERD on March 24, 2011 and heralded the importance of breaking Nile impasse and abrogating unconscionable colonial treaties (that illegally and irrationally allocated lion’s share of Niles water to Egypt while Ethiopia is contributing close to 90% of the Nile water).
However, a great majority of media in downstream countries had and have been publicizing hate report, deceitful facts and distorted stories about the GERD and Nile Cooperation. Until to date, they opt to harp on causus bell issues and incite conflicts. The media in downstream countries have been focusing on the possible challenges and threats that these countries may face when implementing Nile Cooperation. In this context, the opportunities and prospects of cooperation to use the Nile and the GERD has been totally neglected or reduced to one aspect of utilization of water, while the issue of Nile is not only about water (Nile means food, energy, power, navigation, geopolitics, wildlife, culture, and so on).
Until now, the media in the Nile Basin have been reporting the wrong sides of Nile Cooperation and the GERD to incite conflict.They have been selectively aggravating the dispute angle while there are myriads of opportunities to cooperate and mutually benefit from Nile and the GERD. Exclusively, too many politicians have also been manipulating the issue of Nile as their means of existence and bargaining chip to deflect attention of their people, dishonestly win their support and shrewdly prolong the life span of their dictatorship.
Currently, there are palpable differences regarding realities of Nile Cooperation and the GERD and what media institutions are reporting; tangibly media have been playing their own deconstructive role to deliberately distort the issue of Nile and sow the seeds of hatred, suspicion, partisanship and enemity among the Nile basin countries.
Being pessimistic, media in the region are hammering on differences, impossibilities, and grievances. Particularly, one can easily note that international media outlets are solely focusing on conflict reporting. Mostly, they zoom in on the Nile issues only to worsen conflict.
Hence forth, media in downstream countries should make a U-turn and strive to propel the issue of Nile Cooperation and GERD and enhance mutual benefit. Needless to say, the main role of every media is to provide accurate and balanced information. Within the Nile, media should be tuned to educating the public about incontestable and scientifically proven risks in the Basin. And the primary responsibility of media should be providing balanced and accurate information about the benefits of Cooperation to resolve conflicts and further mutual benefit.
What so ever media cynicism in the downstream, Ethiopia is adamantly stressing on the fact that lasting solution to the Nile gridlock may be devised through cooperation, free and fair publication of facts and accomplishment of activities that could enhance the prevalence of peace in the region.
To this end, Ethiopia is calling for downstream media to tame themselves to report factual informantion about Nile; in line with the mutual interest of the three countries and as per the declaration of principles that prohibits unilateral publication about Nile.
Particularly, to burgeon trust and cooperation between countries of the Nile basin, Egyptian media shall refrain from cooking facts about Nile Cooperation and the GERD (and the reality in connection with Ethiopia). Matter of fact, to enhance cooperation and mutual benefit, unheeding media in the down stream countries should refrain from publicizing unfounded remarks about the GERD and Nile Cooperation.