U.S embassy request to retract a report and apologize unacceptable unless deliberated by borkena readership
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is accusing Borkena, online Ethiopian News Portal, of publishing what it called “false reporting” and requested a retraction and apology.
The request was through an electronic mail communication that the spokesperson/Press Officer of the Embassy, S. Najlaa Abdus-Samad, sent to the editor and owner of borkena. A screenshot of the unclassified communication is shared below.
The claim is made in connection with a report published on August 30, 2021 regarding the destruction of over 7000 schools in Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia for which a local government news source was cited.
It was published under the title “US backed TPLF forces destroyed over 7000 schools in Afar, Amhara regions”
In an effort to double-check and get more clarification, The owner of borkena responded to the embassy requesting clarification as to which part of the report constitutes “false reporting” in the eyes of the U.S. Embassy. (See screenshot below)
The response from the Embassy was that the report “falsely claims that the U.S. is sponsoring the TPLF. ” However, borkena has never used the phrase “U.S. is sponsoring the TPLF” in the report.
The part that implicates the U.S. and European Union in the borkena report reads : “The TPLF has been enjoying what some Ethiopian voices describe as “tacit” support from the United States and the European Union. They have been putting pressure on the Ethiopian government for several months now on alleged grounds of “human rights violation,” rape (which is not substantiated yet), and blocking of access for the delivery of aid to the Tigray region of Ethiopia. ”
borkena provides opinionated news articles. Like many Ethiopians, borkena believes that the U.S. has been tacitly supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
There has been circumstantial evidence that supports possible U.S. involvement on the side of the TPLF which the Ethiopian Parliament designated as a terrorist organization.
Soon after, the Ethiopian government withdrew forces from the Tigray region of Ethiopia following a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire at the end of June, a picture of TPLF spokesperson, Getachew Reda, with a satellite phone along with WFP expatriate staff and the recent discovery of TPLF consumption of USAID high energy nutritious food that was supposed to be distributed to those in need in Tigray are just few of the circumstantial evidences for U.S. affiliation with the TPLF.
In terms of history, the role of the U.S. in the coming to power of the TPLF and the support (financial, diplomatic, political and military) it got from the U.S. are clear indications that TPLF was indeed a client group to the United States.
After the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian Defense Force in late November 2020, which triggered the conflict, and the Tigray region which TPLF took to Afar and Amhara regions, the Ethiopian parliament clearly declared TPLF as a terrorist organization. However, many of the statements issued by the U.S. state department regarding the Ethiopian conflict ignored that fact and the pressure was rather on Ethiopia (and the Ethiopian government though. And it has to be clear that borkena does not have any affiliation with the Ethiopian government). That is another indication for tacit U.S. support. In light of those realities, it does not constitute a false claim to link U.S. and TPLF terrorists.
Outside the U.S. government, giant U.S. news outlets had been publishing distorted and at times false news regarding conflict in Ethiopia. From the Washington Post to the New York Times, and CNN were practising it. They never apologized for the false news they have been publishing.
borkena does not accept the request from the U.S. embassy to retract the report and apologize. The readership of borkena will deliberate on the matter.
Furthermore, borkena does not have any hostility to the U.S. In fact, it has been publishing media releases that it has been receiving from the embassy. The embassy may send submission for publication refuting the aforementioned report.
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