Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Reuters’ News Reporting on Ethiopia Lacks Accountability

By LJDemissie

“A journalist who misrepresents a speech, or skews quotations or facts in order to lend credence to a political argument or to advance a certain agenda … this is bad faith.” ― David Foster Wallace

More than160 days ago, I submitted my protest article against Reuters’ irresponsible news report titled, Ethiopia’s PM seeks to regain control over restive Tigray region, to Thomson Reuters Customer Service (TRCS). However, as of yet, TRCS hasn’t responded to my critical article. 

Humanly speaking, I’m quite frustrated because TRCS has been ignoring my complaint. TRCS’ blatant disregard of my case has been making me wonder whether Reuters’ journalists have been enjoying unconditional solidarity with TRCS. That has triggered a thought and a feeling that TRCS’ indifference to my case is to conceal facts and their conclusive evidence my article revealed: Reuters’ journalists’ violations of Thomson Reuters’  “Standards and Values”, including “Correct errors transparently”. Now I learned TRCS wittingly betrays its loyalty to Thomson Reuters’ “Standards and Values” and also to Reuters’ readers.

TRCS’ unprofessional treatment of my grievance has thought me to keep speaking up and to keep encouraging TRCS to examine my evidence in my protest article. That, Reuters’ journalists Giulia Paravicini and Dawit Endeshaw – Italian and Ethiopian origin, respectively – has misrepresented facts in their news article in order “to lend credence to a political argument or to advance a lobbyist agenda…” Worst yet, TRCS’ suppression of my irrefutable evidence has made me aware TRCS makes Thomson Reuters appear to be an accomplice of an interest group.  

Are Thomson Reuters’ “Standards and Values” written for heartwarming and feel-good story lines? I have been waiting for so long to get a response from TRCS because I took Thomson Reuters and Reuters’ word for it. To explain, on a document posted on its website under the caption Reuters Fact Sheet, Thomson Reuters has stated “Reuters stays true to the letter and spirit of the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, valuing independence, integrity and freedom from bias.” Furthermore, Reuters Handbook of Journalism (p. 25) has articulated “Accuracy must never be sacrificed for speed. If we lose our reputation for accuracy we lose everything. We reinforce to readers our commitment to accuracy by being totally honest about rectifying errors – promptly and openly…”

Since, in theory, TRCS’ first allegiance is for “Thomson Reuters Trust Principles”, in my November 30, 2020 article titled, Reuters is Fake News, I have provided conclusive evidence and definitively proved that Reuters spread rumors – irresponsible news – about Ethiopia. And I have encouraged Reuters to consider taking responsibility, including, “making the necessary corrections for the fake news it helped spread of Ethiopia…” However, as if TRCS’ loyalty is for Reuters’ journalists, it has been ignoring my case.  

To explain, on Dec. 08, 2020, I emailed my article to reutersfactcheck@thomsonreuters.com. I also re-lodged my online complaint with TRCS on February 02, 2021. For successfully filing my grievance, TRCS’ website gave me a system generated case reference number: “Case Created: Reference Number is 06912903. 1 attachment has been uploaded successfully.” And also TRCS’ website emailed me an automated response, which has the above reference number, for my communication. 

Since I believe what Thomson Reuters said in its “Guide to Operations” (p. 93), including “Reuters would not be Reuters without freedom from bias. This neutrality is a hallmark of our news brand and allows us to work on all sides of an issue, conflict or dispute without any agenda other than accurate, fair reporting.” and since I also think TRCS is supposed to represent the best of Thomson Reuters, I will not surrender my case to TRCS’ silence. Without getting fatigued, I will keep looking forward to getting a candid response for my protest article from TRCS. Now, I’m doing my absolute best exhaustively in following Thomson Reuters’ chain of command, before encountering TRCS unresponsiveness by bringing up my case to Thomson Reuters’ Executive Team leader, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Steve Hasker.  

The divine curse: For the foreign aid industry colonies like Ethiopia, receiving a biased judgment from a giant media like Reuters could amount to the curse of the divine.  

You might know, according to Reuters the Facts, “Each day, Reuters’ news is read and seen by more than 1 billion people worldwide through multiple platforms…” You possibly also know that “Thomson Reuters is the seventh ranked media organization in the world. It had $40 billion market cap in 2020”, according to Investopedia.  

For comparison sake, CNN Worldwide Fact Sheet stated that “CNN’s two dozen branded networks and services are available to more than 2 billion people in more than 200 countries and territories.” According to Investopedia, “AT&T which owns CNN, among others, is the fourth ranked media giant in the globe. It had $203 billion market cap in 2020…”

To say the least, TRCS’ unfair treatment of my case reminds me “Fake news isn’t just news you don’t like. Fake news is designed to spread confusion and obscure the truth with lies, hoaxes and conspiracies, and there is a lot of it around…” the BBC. If you read this far, I thank you for taking your time. 

The writer, LJDemissie, can be reached at LJDemissie@yahoo.com
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