Ethiopia: Local Media Ignores Famine

Endalk wonders why Ethiopian media ignores famine in the country: “While there has been news after news on the issue of on the global press which was lead by the Guardian and other global newspapers. I have been desperately running from newspaper to newspaper but I have barely seen a feature or a commentary about Ethiopia’s famine on any of the major Ethiopia’s newspapers except some links forwarded by Addis Neger online.”

Just a couple of weeks back I was watching an Ethiopian Television documentary in which many high profile Ethiopians including the prime minister had spoken about how Ethiopia was great in past and how we are reclaiming our glory days of the past in last two decades. But, while people who only watch Ethiopian television kept busy with this sort of reclaiming our past glory days, there were other serious issues happening that our lovely Ethiopian Television and its siblings forgot to tell us about because they either thought it was not news worthy or (development worthy) or they just decided that we do not deserve to hear the truth.

As always, we have been receiving high coverage in the global press with our usual chronic problems – famine, hunger and starvation having a go at each other, the worsening journalists’ treatment, crying and cribbing over foreign aid measles outbreak and so on.

As I write this piece the latest reports put the impact of the drought reached to more Ethiopians with around 4.5 million affectees and some plagued by refuge as far as South Africa and Zimbabwe and diseases like measles. Most of those affected are stranded at remote areas, away from safety, with no food or shelter or clean water and with no access to medical facilities. The drought and food price hike still rage on and more Ethiopians are vulnerable to disaster, risking yet many more thousands of lives.

However, I am outraged by the absolutely lackadaisical, indifferent response of the Ethiopian media in general and the government in particular towards the so called greatest food crisis in sixty years. While there has been news after news on the issue of on the global press which was lead by the Guardian and other global newspapers. I have been desperately running from newspaper to newspaper but I have barely seen a feature or a commentary about Ethiopia’s famine on any of the major Ethiopia’s newspapers except some links forwarded by Addis Neger online. Not only that, casual facebookers do not seem to give a damn either – if at all they have started a facebook cause to erase Ethiopia’s reference of famine from Oxford Dictionary but I should not deny that I have observed the famine’s a passive mention of sympathy amongst one-liners .

Yes these conclusions of mine may be rough and perhaps I am being harsh on our media. But after I eagerly searching local newspapers for information and opinion on the Ethiopia’s starvation and relief efforts, this is the only legitimate case I could come to. I must note here that there have been certain Ethiopian online newspapers from abroad making the calamity laudable and brings to online communities attention. But the online Ethiopia’ populace, at large, is silent at the disaster. And that is a big discontent to me.


Endalk is a lecturer at Arba Minch University. His areas of research interest are new media theory, video games and the whole concept of media. “I wish and love to see a reasonably high standard of freedom of the press in Ethiopia. I write mainly on issues of the new/old media and their impact on Ethiopian politics,education and other social issues.” he says.

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Posted by on August 10, 2011. Filed under COMMENTARY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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