Ethiopia – Journalism, ESAT and Ato Abebe

May 25, 2012

I really did not know what to say when I watched the manner Abebe Gelaw interrupting Meles’  recent speech at the 2012 G8 Summit in Washington DC.

Do not get me wrong. I do perfectly understand Abebe’s anger and frustration. Most of us have our own anger and frustration but what baffled me most was that, unlike most of us, Abebe is a trained journalist who won scholarship to study journalism at Stanford University. Because of his profession and exposure, I think, a young journalist like Abebe, should have captured the opportunity to shine by articulating his view into pointed questions. At least he could have showed us how a professional journalist corner political leaders.

The verdict is out but I believe it was a golden opportunity that comes once in a life time that Abebe should have used very wisely. So what was the best way to challenge Meles?

I would have liked Abebe to prepare irrefutable hard facts and wait for his chance to challenge Meles. If he believes there would not be such a chance, how I wished Ato Abebe to reading his facts slowly, calmly and authoritatively.

At the end of the day, what is important is winning the argument with hard facts and conveying a very precise and clear message to the audience rather than manifestly showing his frustration and anger.

If a young, trained and professional journalist like Abebe cannot show us the way forward or navigate us out of the dark state of the current Ethiopian journalism, who would?

Lastly the way the incident clip is posted at ESAT appears to be different from the reality because there is an alternative footage of the event. I do not think it is potentially good for ESAT. Honesty and professionalism should be the bench mark for ESAT. I invite the readers to see and compare it for themselves:

Unedited video

Edited or altered video (ESAT)