Despite Ogaden region’s sealing off from media by the regime since Addis Ababa employed its bloody counter-insurgency campaign of 2006/7, the Meles Zenawi regime had also implemented a policy of “stick and carrot” to journalists and media centers particularly those speaking Somali language. The Meles Zenawi regime feeling that media had said a lot about the atrocity in Ogaden between 2007 to 2009 had targeted to BBC Somali service and Universal TV as carrot-oriented policy had been in place, ahead of regime’s so-called peace deals of 2010. It was reported that BBC’s core staff were among those Addis Ababa managed to misuse as the service broadcasted the controversial interview against a detained ONLF official in October 2010.

Even before this controversial interview was done, ONLF and its affiliate groups from Ogaden had unanimously agreed not to respond BBC’s comments nor reach them to ask conveying ONLF’s perspective of any story. This decision came after BBC Somali service reporters declined considering ONLF’s demand that they keep themselves “professional, non-partisan and independent”. Similarly but with more exaggeration, Universal TV (1st private satellite Somali TV) founders including Eng. Ahmed Abukar had been complicated themselves in the Ethiopia’s media crisis as he signed notorious agreement with Jigjiga administration in 2010, as a part of regime’s effort to publicize the fake peace-deals.

From the agreement, Eng. Abukar was forced to employ local reporter of Ethiopian TV who uses regime’s language to label the ONLF as “anti-peace, terrorists or mercenaries” despite Universal TV is based in London and claims as independent media outlet. There are reliable sources who claim that Universal TV were granted a hundred thousand USD ($100,000) fee for every quarter of the year as they are to broadcast government-edited video clips as news coverage or special program at least per week. Amid Ethiopia exploited these media groups, the Ogaden Diasporas had contributed together and set up one-hour weekly program from the UK-based Somalichannel TV in late of 2010.

IlaysTV made Ethiopia explicit to outside world;

“The IlaysTV program though it was not broadcasting any militarized display of ONLF, it gained over 2.5 million viewers because of its rhetoric coverage mostly from Western-based Ogaden activists and Somali nationalists”, experts claim. Ethiopia hurried to SomaliChannel TV owners and negotiated its carrot-oriented policy as it promised paying hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollar for them, trying at least to reciprocate the program in favor of her. As the carrot policy failed in early of 2011, Meles regime employed its stick policy until SomaliChannel TV was discharged out of network as delegates led by Minister of Communications headed towards the base of the television’s satellite, hosted by a Far East country. Then, the stakeholders of SomaliChannel TV were, at last, convinced to drop out IlaysTV program by the hosting company as they were overpowered by Meles Zenawi regime.

Not only regime’s travelling to Far East country forced them to surrender, but also their business dealings in the Horn of Africa particularly those Addis Ababa dominated namely the Djibouti, Somaliland and Punt Land administrations had been imposed restricting measures. Again, Eritrean television or Eri-TV had acknowledged broadcasting the IlaysTV from June of 2011 with a lesser time of half-hour per week. Sooner, Ethiopian regime never hesitated to attack IlaysTV program of Eri-TV where it failed to overcome until it fully attacked Eritrean satellite base of Arabsat from Arab Satellite.1 As regime attempts to contain IlaysTV displays, it also affected both Arabsat and Nilesat where Qatar-based AlJazeera Channel, Voice of America, and German radio had been lost their transmission lines.

Next to Eritrea, both Arabsat and Lebanese government had shown their public condemnation and concern to Addis Ababa regime’s jamming practices to the satellite missions because of failing to address domestic political crisis such as the Ogaden conflict.2 In parallel with those jamming practices, Addis Ababa regime had been maintaining its close watching and intimidation policies towards any other media outlet which covers Ogaden stories or events. The Hargaisa-based Horn cable TV along with both Kenyan and Somali media outlets had covered a public conference in Nairobi on December 4 2011 organized by Ogaden Refugees Committee (ORC).

Horn Cable TV raid by Silanyo, beyond thought;

At the time of editing, the experts of Horn Cable TV in Nairobi had raised that they might suffer from sending these clips to their Hargaisa headquarter as they had been summoned and threatened from Somaliland president’s office earlier. “After we released an Ogaden youth group’s coverage on November 13, 2011 from Nairobi, the Ethiopian representatives in Hargaisa had protested to Ahmed Silanyo and alleged us that we covered ONLF story and propaganda”, says one of Nairobi-based employee of the TV. As they were afraid, a nearly three-minute clip of ORC’s public conference was cut from the series of the news bulletin as it showed up only from the first two repeats of TV’s main news amid it was traditional that every news dispatch remains repeated until next, comes in a day.

The January 14, 2012 raid on Horn Cable TV station in Hargaisa by Silanyo administration security forces where many interpreted as they were targeted because of their covering from the controversial Talex conference was beyond what many thought. Because Somaliland’s president, Ahmed Silanyo had told while in parliament just ahead of raiding the station that “Horn Cable TV had stepped beyond the border (redline)”, which literally could be understood that they are engaged beyond Somaliland’s capacity. Furthermore, on February 20, 2011, a local Somaliland paper had published that alleged ONLF fighters had passed through Somaliland western regions toward Ethiopia.

The following day, the commander of Somaliland’s Coast Guard Forces – Ahmed Aw-Osman had dismissed the report aggressively while claiming that this report is to tarnish the Somaliland’s reputation and relation with neighbor.3 At press conference, he announced that the writer of the report who is from Ogaal newspaper is already in security forces’ hand for interrogations and should face the law. From Committee to Protect Journalist’s report on February 29, 2012, another reporter from Subulahanews.com was detained and tortured in the northwestern town – Borama for writing similar article to that of Ogaal newspaper. All of Somaliland steps against those cover about Ogaden issue regardless the topic’s existence or vice versa, shows how Ogaden story is nervously followed by Meles Zenawi regime.

Amid Genocide is in the making, Universal TV on its mission;

As both regional and global media outlets are facing such vicious attacks from the increasingly repressive and abusive regime, the London-based Universal TV remains the only media outlet that claims to report from regime’s stronghold town- Jigjiga. Despite reporting so-called development projects and agreed peace-deals in Ogaden amid region faces its worst moments as brutal massacring, famine and drought overwhelmed native populations, it further claimed to broadcast human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by ONLF freedom fighters.4

In relation to this menace, genocide and massacring activities are in the making in Ogaden as almost four dozen civilians had been killed in Gunagado district and surrounding villages since February 12, 2012 without any coverage of media groups and outside world.5 On February 28, 2012, over 100 people were killed in Raaso district of Afder zone where two sub-clans are allegedly fighting for political supremacy of the district which is among 15 new districts announced on March 15, 2011.6 As part of these crises, significant number of region’s traditional leaders are abused and humiliated since February 1 of 2012 as Ugas-Mohamed Dulane and colleagues were arbitrarily arrested in QabriDahar town.7 Ugas-Mohamed, a traditional leader with historical significance, has been transferred to Jigjiga where he remains detained without any trial and formal charge by the regime.

International community still under Zenawi hostage;

As all these happen, the regime head namely Meles Zenawi, is scheduled visiting United Nations Gigiri headquarter on March 1, 2012 according to United Nations sources.8 It is worrisome that international community including the United Nations which itself is a victim of regime’s abusive and domination policies particularly the fact-finding mission of 2007, still welcomes and invites the bloody strongman against fellow civilians.9 It is shameful that he expects media coverage for his flimsy and acting characters as a man of respect and responsibility amid he willfully denied access to free media for over eighty million populations in the world’s poorest country.

Furthermore, despite he fails to respect UN principles and neighbor country’s sovereignty as regime employed in 2011, the murdering against Ogaden refugees in Kenya, still he pays visit amid his Nairobi Ambassador failed neither denying nor accepting the findings after asked by Standard’s Boniface Ongeri on Jan 3, 2012.10 At last, instead of claiming to commemorate “planting tree” for his visit to UN Gigiri office as a well-wisher, it was commendable that he did this in the massacred villages of Ogaden to clean his bloody hands first. It is the failure of the so-called international community that Ethiopia’s bloody premier is hosted to red carpets as a guest of honor, instead of forcing him out of the office as Syria’s Bashar Assad faces, or being indicted for his massacring in Ogaden by the International Criminal Court (ICC) like Omar Al-Bashir.

Justice comes its day!

 

Ahmed Farah Mohamud

Chairperson; Ogaden Refugees Committee (ORC)

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.tesfanews.net/archives/6158
    1. http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/lebanon-joined-eritrea-to-condemn-ethiopias-jamming-practice/
    2. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2012/02/taliyaha-ilaalada-xeebaha-somaliland-oo-beeniyey-in-ciidan-ka-tirsan-jabhadda-onlf-ka-soo-degeen-buulla-caddo/
    3. http://xaajo.com/ogeysiis-caawa-saacadda-6-da-iyo-silentcry-ka-daawo-universaltv/
    4. http://www.ogaden.com/hornnews/ethiopia/1418-ethnic-cleansing-intensifies-in-gunagado-district-of-ogaden.html
    5. http://shabelle.net/shabbele//article.php?id=15778
    6. http://www.ogaden.com/hornnews/ogaden/1407-orc-statement-condemning-ethiopias-detention-and-humiliation-against-ugas-mohamed-dulane.html
    7. http://www.nigerianewsline.com/visit-to-the-un-headquarters-nairobi-by-h-e-meles-zenawi/
    8. http://www.kilil5.com/news/11999_un-on-fact-finding-mission-in-et
    9. http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000049397&cid=658&currentPage=1

 

 

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ILAYS TV Shirwynihii JWXO maalinkii 1 aad Qaybtii u dambaysay