Updated on October 30,2016
Associated Press reportedly fired a freelancer based in Ethiopia on grounds of false report. In a Facebook update, Eritrean Press reported that the Associated Press apologized in an e-mail sent to Eritrean Embassy in Washington. According to Eritrean Press, the e-mail partly reads as follows:
“we cherish the trust our readers place in us to provide an accurate and vivid account of the world. On this case, the article was false and created subsequent ill-informed and damaging coverage in other media outlets and across social media.”
Elias Meseret Taye (pictured above) reported, for the Associated Press, about defection of two Eritrean pilots with their military jets citing a certain Eritrean by the name Nasredin Ahmed Ali who was described by the reporter as “spokesman for the Ethiopia-based Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization.” In what seem to be an effort to place credence to the report, the freelancer included a story about two Ethiopian jets flying low in Mekelle for which a lecturer at Mekelle University, Abiy Chelkeba, was cited as an eye witness.
On October 30,2016, Elias claimed in a facebook update that he is not terminated. Effort is underway to establish contact with AP so as to verify the story.
The Associated Press report was published on October 27 by major media outlets including the New York Times
Regime in Ethiopia, as was cited in the Associated Press report, didn’t comment about the defection but Henok Semagzier of Amharic service of Voice of America reported about “Eritrean pilots defection to Ethiopia” claiming “intelligence sources” , apparently from within in Ethiopian government. Borkena cautiously reported about VOA coverage yesterday. At this writing, VOA Amharic does not seem to issue statement to apologize about the false report.
It is not clear whether the Associated Press would follow up the matter to establish as to who else was involved the production of false report.
Regime in Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of supporting what it calls “anti-peace forces.”
In June 2015, Eritrea and Ethiopia had a border incident that involved a serious militarized skirmish which claimed lives on both sides.
Eritrea has been a propaganda target of the regime in power for quite a long time now.