Ethiopia Struggles to Find Its Voice in Western Media Amid Misinformation

This week, in a letter to several Western Media organizations including CNN, BBC, AP and Reuters the exasperated Ethiopian Media Authority said the heavily slanted foreign press coverage of current affairs in Ethiopia has “sowed seeds of animosity among people and compromised the sovereignty” of the country. The letter comes on the heels of this shocking report that the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, had explored ways "to embarrass the Ethiopian government" during a policy brainstorming session with staffers. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia Considers Withdrawing Licenses of Foreign News Agencies

Ethiopia said it would consider revoking the licenses of CNN, the British Broadcasting Corp., the Associated Press and Thomson Reuters Corp. for alleged reportage that authorities say could endanger the interest and peaceful coexistence of the people in the Horn of Africa nation.

Stories published by these news agencies on ongoing events “sowed seeds of animosity among people and compromised the sovereignty” of the country, the Ethiopian Media Authority wrote in a letter to the media houses Friday and posted on its Twitter account. “In the absence of ethical and professional journalistic operation, the authority would be compelled to revoke the license granted to your institution to operate in Ethiopia,” it said.

Conflict has been raging in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an incursion into the northern Tigray region in November 2020 after forces loyal to the regional administration attacked a federal army base. The fighting has now spread to two other regions and the forces allied to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front advancing and capturing key towns in neighboring Amhara region.

The authority claims news and analysis of these media outlets assist the TPLF’s objectives.

The conflict has claimed lives of thousands of people, displaced hundreds of thousands and left millions in need of humanitarian aid. Earlier in November Ethiopia detained 16 United Nations staff and their family members as well as some 70 truck drivers contracted by the UN but most of them have since been released.

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