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Gondar University calls BBC report unsubstantiated , shocking defamation

BBC’s report in which it implicated Gondar University in making ethnic Tigreans mass graves untraceable is rather defamation and Misinformation , based on the letter from the University

Gondar University _ BBC Report
Gondar University ( Photo : SM)

borkena 

Gondar University, one of Ethiopia’s prestigious universities, on Monday wrote a letter regarding what it called a shocking and unsubstantiated news coverage published on May 7. 

Lucy Kassa, BBC freelancer, made claims in the report, which was published on the date mentioned above, implicating the University of Gondar  in the burning of mass graves of ethnic Tigray.  (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-61335530)  

There was further claim that a team of experts from the University of Gondar got support from the Amhara militia in burning the mass graves. 

“The University of Gondar is shocked that a global news network with the stature of the BBC would publish such fabrications without an iota of evidence,” said the statement from the University. 

The University called the report  unsubstantiated, and  shocking. For the University, the report represents defamation and misinformation.  It is called on by the BBC to retract it. 

There were claims sometime in the past from Ethiopian activists, which were expressed on social media,  that Lucy Kassa is an ardent pro-TPLF reporter. 

Soon after the outbreak of the war in North Ethiopia, BBC and CNN, among others,  have been publishing stories that appear to be politically motivated in a way to tacitly support the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). 

Content of the letter to BBC from Gondar University reads as follows : 

“To: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Regional Office,
Nairobi, Kenya

Subject: Regarding Misinformation and Defamation carried out by the BBC

On May 7, 2022, an article was published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) titled “Ethiopia war: Evidence of mass killing being burned – witnesses” by freelance journalist Lucy Kassa alleging a group of University of Gondar experts, aided by Amhara militias, engaged in acts of burning so-called victims of Tigrayan mass graves. The article presents an unsubstantiated accusation that the team of experts orchestrated a plan to dispose of human remains by trucking in an “unknown chemical” which helped with the eradication of evidence. Moreover, the report also claimed that the BBC had contacted the University of Gondar for comments on the allegations and that the University “did not respond”. 

The University of Gondar unequivocally rejects the defamatory allegations which are unbefitting to our educational Institution.  The University of Gondar is one of the most respected research-based educational institutions in Ethiopia which is devoted to solving some of society’s pressing issues through evidence-based research and community engagement. As one of the few higher research institutions in the country, we have an immense responsibility to uncover and bring to light those issues that are of importance to the general population. 

As part of the aforementioned mandated responsibilities, the University of Gondar has been conducting a yearlong comprehensive study of decades-long evidence on alleged gross human rights violations committed against the Amhara people living in Welkaite, Tegede, and Telemt by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Consistent with human rights organizations’ standards and academic research integrity, the University’s research team discovered that thousands of Amharas were killed and buried in mass following the forceful annexation of the above-stated areas to the Tigray region in the mid-1990s. The research team uncovered a systematic consortium of mass graves the TPLF used to bury Amharas who participated in the resistance movement that was against the annexation of said lands into Tigray. The research team held a press conference regarding the findings on April 7, 2022.  

The University of Gondar is shocked that a global news network with the stature of the BBC would publish such fabrications without an iota of evidence.  The research team’s only motive is to scientifically investigate the reported acts of genocide committed against the local Amhara inhabitants in Welkite, Tegede, and Telemt over the past 40 years. No such evidence of “Tigrayan mass graves” was ever discovered as alleged by the free-lance journalist.  However, if any such graves of Tigrayans were discovered, the research team and the University of Gondar would have been the first to acknowledge and provide the evidence. 

Writing in a tone that resembles TPLF propaganda, the article’s goal seems to be to tarnish the meticulous research and reputation of our experts and the University of Gondar. Such journalism lacks integrity and is unscientific in its nature: which we believe is against the core values and mission of the BBC. The seriousness of the current accusations and the ill intent the report intended to inflict on our institution is a clear attempt to censor the freedom of scientific exploration. Loose and unsubstantiated claims without evidence, as reported by the journalist, can be detrimental to the mission and vision of education everywhere and must be investigated by the BBC with the utmost attention. 

We believe the BBC, as an international news outlet, has a weighty responsibility to safeguard the scientific flow and dissemination of educational institutions’ research and a strict and methodical editorial process should be followed moving forward when defamatory reporting is made against institutions of higher learning.

We call on the BBC to retract this article, properly investigate the author, check the validity of the sources, and investigate the editorial process that was followed.

Respectfully,

Public and International Relations Directorate,

University of Gondar “ 

__

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to the university for telling the truth to the power. The report came right after another report just a few days earlier by the BBC itself that accuses Debre and his group of forceful conscription of the youth into their army where parents who refuse to hand over their kids are being sent to jail. This shows us that there are two groups of individuals of Ethiopian origin who work in tandem as the BBC employees, one group that tries to report facts and the other one countering facts. What boggles my mind is how the guys that report tarradiddles on that gem of the colored go home and sleep well. How? How? I guess money is finally able to buy not only individuals’ hands to do the first work but also their Allah gifted conscience. Very troubling indeed!!!

  2. It is just sad, ridiculous and utterly repugnant that BBC publishes such repugnant lies by a TPLF hack. It them hides behind preposterous “it is not BBC” per se but the opinions of an editor published on BBC. The remedies for these types of egregious biases, political manipulations, institutionalized racism and marginalization of the plights and suffering of Ethiopians living in Gondar under TPLF include persistent resistance, exposure of the lies such as the once propagated by the BBC, and call out by name the institutions, corporations and individuals responsible.

    For starters, the University of Gondar must sue the BBC for defamation, malicious intent and intentional infliction of damages. A two pronged lawsuit one in the Ethiopian courts against any branches of the BBC engaged in the transmission of such propaganda coupled with a second lawsuit in the UK, or on the global stage against the parent company must ensue. Monetary damages must be enumerated and presented in concrete figures and claimed against the BBC. Simply writing a rebuttal is not sufficient. The diaspora community can assist in such a move. Freedom of speech comes with responsibility and those like the BBC that uses a TPLF hack to abuse such avenues and damage a people, a nation and a country like Ethiopia must be held accountable before the law.

  3. Make that: I guess money is finally able to buy not only individuals’ hands to do the dirty work but also their Allah gifted conscience. Very troubling indeed!!!

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