ESAT the other side of ETV on the same coin
Questioning the independency of ESAT
Can a fanatic media outlet like ESAT based in Washington DC, the US, really be independent only because it incessantly claims it is?
Indeed, I find it utterly hard to buy its claim. I even question the capacity of its journalists. They are too inefficient to be called journalists, at best. What induced me to scribble this piece is the way this so-called independent media recently treats trgic news that came out of Bahir-dar, Ethiopia. A blood- thirsty man rampaged massacring dozen of people randomly and injuring others there. True, it was a horrible act any sane person denounces whatsoever the murderer’s motive could have been. Yet, attempting to link it to the politics of that country by painting a negative image to the ruling party without having a shred of evidence is vile to say the least. After all, this kind of bestial occurrence is not weird in this world. Our ears are accustomed to hearing such horrendous stories being carried out even in the civilized countries. Take the recent Boston Marathon incident. At the beginning of the senseless incident all Western Medias’ focus was on the victims. Nothing was said about the suspects until their identity was disclosed, that took about two days. The Western media refrained from speculating the suspects not because it was hard to do so, but because their profession coerced them not to do that. The very moment ESAT announced the Bahir-dar incident before telling us anything about the victims it rushed to speculate the ethnicity of the murderer to defame the ruling party in Addis Ababa. This is not an attempt to defend the EPRDF; rather it is an advice for ESAT to reconsider its editorial to live up to its claim. For instance, instead of trying to politicize this type of horrible incidents, it should primarily focus on its motives.
Moreover, anytime the TPLF led EPRDF government in Addis takes any action, ESAT interprets it pessimistically. Take the recent action in relation to corruption. The government accused its own officials on corruption charges. Again, ESAT instead of focusing on the motives it was engrossed to find out the ethnicity of the accused. It is good to be analytical but what I am saying is in trying to be analytical as a journalist ESAT journalists should be free of prejudice.
Another thing I observe from ESAT journalists, of course, it may emanate from their callowness, so to speak whenever they interview they seem to be more interested in hearing what is in their mind rather than what their interviewee thinks. Take this, ESAT interviewer to a former TPLF member regarding the corruption charge:
ESAT: “How do you see this recent corruption charge?”
Former rebel:” Corruption is the very foundation of the party itself. It is what the deceased leader Meles left it will not be easy to clean up. The effort is ok yet it should continue.
ESAT: “Some people say its cause isn’t corruption rather it is caused by the infighting in TPLF and those accused are the underdog, there is also a rift between the parties that comprise EPRDF what is your opinion?
Former rebel: “TPLF is fragile. However, I still appreciate the action.”
This way the ESAT journalist pressed his interviewee to tell him what he wanted to hear. Journalistically, this is unethical. Even if we see it literally, there is nothing wrong in acknowledging the good work of one’s opponent. After all, he invited his guest to learn his view. If his wish is, only to hear what he cherishes in what way this self-claimed independent media is different from controlled Medias in dictatorial regimes.
ESAT accuses tireless sly of TPLF dividing the over eighty ethnic group of Ethiopia. Equally, ESAT appears to make it impossible for these ethnic groups to coexist by deepening the rift. For instance, some former members of TPLF who departed from the party expressing dissent in its political agenda have joined other opposition parties, yet ESAT journalists marginalize these dissidents mistrusting their stand. Is this what an independent media is expected to do? Who made ESAT a judge? To me as an independent media what is expected from it is entertaining their view, giving them a chance to express their stand on the fate of the future politics of Ethiopia, then it is up to the people to look into their outlook and make a decision. In other words, for ESAT to prove its independence to its audience, its guideline should be on the principle of inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness.
All in all ESAT may wish to be an independent media, but it seems that there is a long way for it to achieve that. It needs to scrutinize its editorial policy should it achieve its goal. Or else let it tell us blatantly its objective. I mean, is it affiliated to an opposition political party? If that is so, that will be a different story.