Recently Tigray regional president Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael gave a press briefing focusing on the current corruption crackdown and other related issues in the country. The press conference was given in Tigrinya but it was reported with two versions and ended up confusing the nation. In this article, we will try to give the two sides of the story and lets you decide who were the losers and winners in the reporting.
The first news that comes out with the accurate translation was first published on Walta News Fake Facebook Page. Ironically the Walta News Fake Facebook Page has got more followers than the real Walta Page which adds up more confusion for readers to verify the story. We even had to visit the official website of Walta and check the social media account linked to the organization. After a few hours, Sheger FM published the same exact quote that was shared from Walta News Fake Facebook Accoutnt and deleted their post after 30 minutes. At this stage, people already concluded the story was false reporting.
Later on the night Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) and Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate (EBC) released a news that was shaped to fit a narrative by incomplete reporting. Their version of the story only highlights general points that were raised by the regional president without going in detail to the context. For instance, Dr. Debretsion specifically mentioned scenarios and cases which makes him conclude that the crackdown is being used for political agenda. But as a media both EBC and FBC chose not to give readers the full context of the story.
Tigray Television broadcasted the full press conference that was given by the regional president. This further proved the incomplete reporting of the state media.
In his speech, the regional president raised two critical points the first was the politicization of the arrest and the second was his claim that foreign actors are interfering in our internal issues.
It is not still clear to anyone why EBC and FBC still wanted to report the story in a way that failed to capture the full picture. Also, they have not taken down any of their posts with the press conference. This resulted in a condemnation from the Tigray Regional State Communication Bureau.
In less than a month the credibility and neutrality of all major state media (FBC, EBC, and Walta) were questioned following the METEC documentary they aired and the incomplete reporting they had on Tigray regional president press conference. Not only that private owned media like Sheger FM also had failed to give a clear explanation of why they took down their post. At a time where people are empowered to take screenshots and archive your activity, it will not be wise to ignore the public question. Otherwise, we will be fueling more speculation and fake news.