The BBC report titled Swedish journalists ‘wanted to train Ethiopian rebels, regarding ONLF is inaccurate and shows the dangers of careless journalism that relies on cut and paste practice from the internet, without due investigation of stories printed online.

In this article, the BBC writer claims that a splinter group of ONLF is fighting. This is glaring factual error which has no basis in reality considering the facts on the ground and the actual meaning of the word splinter . The Ethiopian government mounted a super hype campaign in November last year, claiming that it reached an agreement with ONLF and only a minority group had refused to accept the Agreement. ONLF repudiated this false claim and increased both its military and political activities.

Mr. Andrew Koriri’s – Yet another peace deal in Ogaden – Read

Since the Ethiopian regime does not allow journalist to visit the Ogaden freely and report accurately about the realities in Ogaden, the international news wires and media were denied any opportunity to find the truth.
Since then, events on the ground in Ogaden proved the Ethiopian claim wrong, and the conflict escalated instead of Ethiopian false claims of peace.

The motive of the Ethiopian regime to claim such a preposterous and blatant lie is understandable, given its failure both militarily and politically vis-à-vis ONLF and thus the need to invent a new ONLF. But what is incomprehensible is why would the BBC rehash such obvious and cheap Ethiopian regime propaganda. What we would like to ask the BBC is on what basis its reporter asserted ‘that One ONLF faction signed a peace deal with the government last year, but another splinter group has continued to fight the army’. Did he check-up the makeup of ONLF leadership and find out that the Majority of them accepted and signed the so-called peace deals.

What percentage of ONLF civilian and Liberation Army members are in this or that group? Are the people who are claiming that they signed agreement with Ethiopia even members ONLF? In English splinter implies a fraction of a greater whole. Since when were those claiming to be ONLF members known in the international arena to be the known leadership of ONLF?

A minimal investigation would have shown that ONLF had nothing to do with the Ethiopian carefully choreographed and stage-managed publicity stunt. ONLF invites the BBC to come to the Ogaden and find out the truth about Ethiopia’s claim. Liars do not like close scrutiny so we do not expect that Ethiopian regime would grants you an unfettered visit to the Ogaden anyway.
In the very least BBC should have stated both sides of the argument, but by rehashing the Ethiopian government misinformation story it breached its own impartiality and accuracy codes of conduct. ONLF complained about this article but so far no action was taken.

It is a pity that the BBC reporter did not adhere to the code of conduct of the BBC which states that:
1. We must do all we can to ensure due accuracy in all our output.
2. All BBC output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We should be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation. Claims, allegations, material facts and other content that cannot be corroborated should normally be attributed.
3. The BBC must not knowingly and materially mislead its audiences. We should not distort known facts, present invented material as fact or otherwise undermine our audiences’ trust in our content.
4. We should normally acknowledge serious factual errors and correct them quickly, clearly and appropriately.
5. We must do all we can to ensure that ‘controversial subjects’ are treated with due impartiality in all our output.
6. News in whatever form must be treated with due impartiality, giving due weight to events, opinion and main strands of argument.
7. We seek to provide a broad range of subject matter and perspectives over an appropriate timeframe across our output as a whole.
8. We are committed to reflecting a wide range of opinion across our output as a whole and over an appropriate timeframe so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.

We hope that the BBC rectifies its mistake since such shoddy journalism would jeopardizeits reputation.

ONA.

 

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