Ethiopia : Mounting state propaganda against hate speech

August 15,2016

[Amharic -Documentary aired on state television Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on “hate speech”

As Ethiopia is living protest with a desire for fundamental political change to reverse what many think is the ruling party’s excessive and unregulated power, the regime is mounting propaganda campaign targeting what it projected as hate speech

The documentary featured “bloggers” ,academicians teaching at Addis Ababa University and individuals from religious institutions including patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church,Abune Mathias.

Ethiopians living overseas including journalists and bloggers are protected in light of hate speech. In another panel discussion aired about same day, chauvinism and narrow nationalism were discussed as major challenges for the country.

Government propaganda campaign came after properties of some Tigraeans, who are believed to be affiliated with the ruling TPLF, was attacked in Gonder and other areas. It coincided with violent crackdown against popular uprising in most parts of the country. More than 150 people were killed,hundreds wounded and thousands arrested just last week. UN human rights body asked the government to investigate the killings but the government declined to allow claiming that there is no need for foreign observers.

From the stand point of Ethiopians who oppose the ruling party (and they clearly constitute majority although government claimed that it won federal election last year by 100 % of the vote), the ruling party is accused as a cause of division along religious and ethnic lines, and hate. As well, they claim that in fact it is TPLF that is chauvinistic and narrow nationalistic at the same time.

For many millions of Ethiopians, the ruling party pursued a policy of hate that targeted Amharic speaking Ethiopians ; and it was implemented directly and indirectly.

As recently as two and three years ago, thousands of Amharic speaking Ethiopians who lived for most part of their lives ( some even 50 years) as small scale farmers in the Southern and South Western parts of Ethiopia were inhumanly attacked and displaced.

The protest against the ruling party covers most parts of Ethiopia. The only where there is no protest against government is Ethiopia is in Tigray which is the ethnic base of the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front. There is clear tendency to question why Tigraians are not openly supporting movement for freedom by the Amharas and Oromos.

Yet, from slogans chanted in the protests, protesters make distinction between people in Tigray and the ruling party whose political base is Tigray.

Observers say that the only thing that could save the country from chaos (probably from something like Rwandan experience) is for the ruling TPLF party to quite its power and agree for a transitional government.


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