Ethiopian Cyber Media: Ethic and Professionalism

By Gezaee Hailemichael

Jan. 14 2008

It has been now a high time since I have started jotting down my Opinions and sending them to websites like Tigrait-net, dekialula, Ethiomedia, Aiga. I have different bad experiences with all these websites. Recently, I have found a refuge at Tigrai-online and Africa path after many mistreatment at the above cited websites. Without any biases, all the editors in the above websites do not have ethical code and professionalism.

Let me start with Ethiomedia, Ethiomedia never post my script. When I ask them they never respond. After many attempts I gave up sending to them. I also concluded that my scripts do not qualify to be posted at Ethiomedia due to the fact my scripts do not accommodate fabrication, lies, false propaganda….. However, very recently one names-less Ethio-media editor read my article on African path and left a commentary insult which says,”you BSC, we do not post your article because your English is bad.” I do not understand why Ethiomedia decided to follow me to African path and read my article if it was worth reading so.

Nonetheless, the commentary by an ethiomedia editor has given me an insight about maturity and personality of the editor in that website. First and foremost, the Ethiomedia editor does not know whether I am BSC or Msc, PHD, or none. In further, if Ethiomedia editor thinks BSC is an insult then the editor must be very arrogant and shallow who lack understanding at any standard. It is totally wrong to judge the intellect of people by their academic status or degree. It is wrong. That is why Ethiopian scholars are messing up in Ethiopia’s politics because they think they are entitled to meddle in politics because they have PHD. According to me, life is the best university than university. Speaking English or having degree or PHD does not entitled everyone to be a politician.

If we navigate back in our history, the greatest people in Ethiopian history never knew English, or never went to school, or university, but they were doing things which we cannot do today with all the degrees. To ask one question to Ethiomedia editor? If your English or your degree or your English in poetry can entitle you to be genius, please can you go to axum, and re-erect the axum monument? All the engineers in Ethiopia and even in the world have no clue how to put it up, our English speaking genius please go there and do favour us because the monument is lying there for three years now.

From my perspective, I have found this thinking paradigm primitive and backward. One does not have to speak English to be civilized or to be a politician. If I am being insulted as Bsc by Ethiomedia, what will be the insult to an Ethiopian farmer by Ethiomedia who calibrate status using English language? I must tell to Ethiomedia, it is wrong, primitive,…. to discriminate people using such useless criterion. The British themselves had the same problem you have now many years ago. They thought English was a low grade language, and they were favoring Latin and Greek. They used to study art and science in Latin and Greek language because they believed English cannot be used for creative art and science. They were battling to become Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, Euclid,… by studying everything in Greek, the same like you. It is after the ingenious Shakespeare, they have understood English can be used for creative art and scientific purposes. It is Shakespeare who reversed the backward British mentality that Greek was better than English. This is the same as the Ethiomedia editor who discriminate people by presumption and prejudices. According to Ethiomedia, to be accepted you have to be PHD plus including some words like woyane, TPLF, Meles Dictator, Meles traitor, Meles tyrant, Simon, Sibhat Nega, so and so forth then one will be qualified to be a member of Ethiomedia.

Let me tell a story to the Ethiomedia editor, this is a real story of my own friend. I do not want to include the name of my friend. Like many Ethiopians, my friend left from Ethiopia with a mere diploma in agriculture from Alemaya University. He applied for a job with an international NGO. He was the only Diploma candidate, the rest of his competitors were Msc, and PHDs. To our surprise, my Ethiopian friend with a diploma beat all those PHDS and got the one job he was bidding. The main reason he won is not because of PHD but because of his experiences. Now he is a co-ordinator for the whole Africa. Thus Ethiomedia life is the best teacher than your English PHD.

Ethiomedia, I am sad, it is people like you are meddling in my country by claiming they know because they have that PHD. It is easy to teach the Ethiopian farmer, but it is too difficult to teach the PHDs since they are brainwashed and programmed irreversibly and that is why they are knocking the white house to be given freedom on a silver plate. It is people like you. I suggest we better free ourselves from psycho-slavery before attempting to call ourselves emancipators or freedom fighters.

Secondly, Tigrainet, I used to see my opinions posted at Tigrainet. Usually the Tigraynet editor adds his own things onto my opinion. I always ignored his additions to my opinions and went on. But he continued to add the things he likes to add. One time he added the useless Ethiopian map which I call Meles Zenawi’s map, the map of Ethiopia without Eritrea. I did ask him politely to remove the map of Meles from my opinion. He asked me if it is Meles’s ? I said yes. He stated that he thought I am open minded and he also said that the old map does not exist anymore. I told him the new map does not exist either except in the mind of the people. I also stated that accepting Meles’ map does not make me open-minded since I am not conformer to things which are not true. He never responded after that. He kept quiet. Thereafter he stopped posting my opinions. I once asked him if he was disappointed because I told him to remove the map. He said no, no, I am not a person of like that. He said he just did not read them and did not get the opportunity to post them. But since then I have sent many of my scripts, and he never posted them. This proves he is not a professional media person. If I was him, I should have been angry with him long ago when he posted Sibhat Nega’s interview by adding to my opinion. How many threat did I receive because of him? I did not post Aboy Sibhat Nega’s interview with my opinion. He himself added to my opinion without consulting me and unprofessionally. And I have to bear all the brunt of all what he has done.

Third, Dekialula, they sometimes post my opinions especially when they have something to add on it. Especially, during Aboy Sibhat Nega interview, they posted my opinion but they added things which I never said. Then I did ask them why? They asked me apology and accepted apology. They never post my opinion unless it is something which they like to hear. But what surprises me, when African path posts my opinions, they post it from African path. It is shameful people practice media without any ethics and professionalism. And these are political media outlets which talk about freedom but they do not know the meaning of freedom except according to their whims.

Fourthly, Aiga, they only post if the script emulates EPRDF. If it has honest critics of EPRDF, they will not post it.

My desire to write this stemmed from my concern reading about Siye Abraha. I have read about Siye Abraha’s speech to Ethiopians in Crystall hill hotel. My first reading was on Aiga websites the article titled,” no retreat, no surrender”; my second reading was from Dr Kiros on Dekialula websites, my third reading was on Prof. Tocola Hagos websites, and my fourth reading was on Ethiomedia by Ato Abrha Belai. Prof. Tecola Hagos’s posting is closer to Aiga’s posting, appears honest one. However, I am very concerned about the statements posted at Ethiomedia and Dekialula. I did not think Ato Siye Abraha stated all those different things at the same time. There must be a problem from our undisciplined, unethical, and unprofessional editors. It really matters, disseminating different information for one thing is a great concern. Editors need to know they are responsible what they post in the name of others. There are laws which can incriminate you.

Professional editors are expected to behave professionally and ethically to the public and to their clients, professional misconduct of editors include the following:

  1. Harasssment, this is what an Ethiomedia editor has done to me
  2. Negligence: An act or an addition, diversion, misrepresentation in the carrying out of the work of media practice that constitutes a failure to maintain the standards that a reasonable and prudent media practioner must maintain.
  3. Failure to report the correct information
  4. Failure to make responsible decision
  5. Breaching standards, code of ethics, applicable statutes, regulations, by-laws, and rules
  6. Failure to carry out once own work competently
  7. Providing prejudicial information to the public
  8. Partiality, discrimination, unprofessional commentary

Our media professionals need to be role models in educating and providing our people honest and trustworthy information. Disseminating information which is biased, prejudicial, hateful, false, discriminatory, conflicting stirring, negative… with negligence will neither benefit the editors nor the audiences. Insulting Meles or playing ballet dance calling woyane, woyane, … or posting information which is not true will not make anyone politician.

Politics is not lie, falsehood; politics is an art of delivering freedom and justice to a populace. Politics is not struggle for power. Everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and integrity regardless gender, sex, race, tribe, ethnic, political affiliation, creed, color, origin, nationality, language. Discriminating people based on the above bases does not make anyone politician. Discriminating ones own people using a foreign language as criterion is not acceptable at any standard. It is good to know many languages, but people do not have to know foreign language or English to be intelligent and or politician. Ethiopian language is not less than any language unless there is a personal problem like the Ethio-media editor. Ethio-media editor you need to revamp yourself because you are still thinking like Emperor Haileslassie. The emperor had been convinced by a British adviser that Ethiopian language cannot be used for scientific purpose. The same like the British themselves who thought Greek was better than theirs. The same as the Jewish Hellenics who believed Hellenic or Greek language was better than Hebrew and started introducing Hellenic language into Israel in the 6th Century BC which reduced them eventually to slavery.

Freedom is not only about who have to sit at the Arat Killo Palace, but also includes social freedom, cultural freedom (language), economic freedom, political freedom.

If one cannot enshrine the rights of the next person to him, it is impossible to enshrine the right of 80 million people.

In conclusion, Ethiomedia, dekialula, … you need to do positive work. You need to remove your personality from the media. You need to act on behalf of the public because the job description you have is a public media and you need to act professionally, responsibly and ethically.

Divine Freedom and Justice to Ethiopia