A media agency called Ethio 360° launched this week by former ESAT journalists. The ESAT executive board’s decision to fire Journalist Minalachew Simachew and Habtamu Ayalew led to the exodus of other journalists from the media company and the formation of Ethio 360°.
ESAT, which was mainly known for its struggle for democracy and justice for nearly nine years, has now reportedly broken down with internal political differences. Last week, the executive board of ESAT also announced a major structural rearrangement of the agency.
Ten of the most prominent journalists of the organization based in the Washington DC studio, namely: Ermias Legesse, Reyot Alemu, Tewelde Beyene, Menalachew Smachew, Habtamu Ayalew, Girma Degefa, Biruk Dubale, Bruktawit Girmaye Eyerusalem T/Tsadik, and Liyu Tsegaye have issued a claim not to accept the decision of the board.
They released a statement which condemns the board decision to fire employees under the cover of ‘lack of budget’ without even discussing with the employees. Soon after, they decided to quit ESAT and joined Minalachew Smachew and Habtamu Ayalew to establish Ethio 360 media.
On the other hand, the executive board said that the decision was made with the participation of all the worldwide members of ESAT. They state that it is wrong to make it appear as a political game.
In a statement issued on June 1, those ten journalists raised an issue concerning lack of budget. On the account, delegates of ESAT have raised about 8,000,000 ETB with GofundMe, ESAT charters companies, and donors. “Since we are part of ESAT and the money was raised with the name of ESAT, we have the right to know exactly how this money was spent.” The ten journalists stated that they have decided to make the issue public and intend to have a public consultation and disclose decision about next steps.
Ethio 360 media has now more than twenty thousand subscribers on YouTube within one week, and they made a move to raise funds for a satellite TV.