Have a look at what Ethiopian opinion leaders (journalists, writers and dissidents) are saying on twitter?

Here the list of some of the top Ethiopian Twitterati, you will appreciate how twitter is helping us to get access to some Ethiopian dissidents

Abiye Teklemariam @abiyetk
I am an Ethiopian academic and dissidentjournalist. My main area of interest is democratic theory and practice. I passionately hate authoritarianism.


Abe Tokichaw @abebe_tolla

ሰላም ለተከታዮቼ እና ለምከተላችሁ…!

Argaw Ashine@argawnmg
Exiled #Journalist, interested on #AU, #environment ,#aid and #security in the #Horn of Africa region. Reporter for NMG, My views and mistakes are my own .East Africa/ Ethiopia


Al Mariam @pal4thedefense
Professor of Political Science & Defense Attorney
Los Angeles, CA • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam

Dawit Kebede@dawitawramba
Dawit Kebede is Managing Editor of Awramba Times from Ethiopia and recipient of the 2010 International Press Freedom Award from CPJ.

Derese Kassa @nestaneth
loves humanity, freedom, and dignity
http://www.addisnegeronline.com

Elias Kifle @EliasKifle
Editor-in-Chief, Ethiopian Review Addis Ababa, Ethiopia • http://EthiopianReview.com

Ermias Amare @ermam
West Europe

Fisseha Tegegn @fisseha505
Journalist, football and athletics junkie, and AFC Ajax fan.
London

Kiflu Hussain @HussainKiflu

Mesfin Negash @mesfinnegash
Managing Editor and Co-founder of ADDIS NEGER Newspaper
Addis Ababa

Masresha Mammo@masresham
http://www.addisnegeronline.com

Solomon Shumiye @solshumiye

Tamerat Negera @Tamefeyisa
An Ethiopian a constant rebel who likes to read and write
http://addisnegeronline.com/

Tesfaye gebreab @Mastawesha
Writer Netherlands • http://tgindex.blogspot.com

Zerihun Tesfaye @zerecon
Ethiopian Exiled Writer Tweets about Ethiopian Economy and Politics
http://addisnegeronline.com

Yonas Hailemeskel@Khanua
Sport Journalist at Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency…
Addis Ababa, ERTA

Just as a conclusion,some of them do not tweet frequently but following them does not cost us much please follow them.

The alleged child “abuse” video: How Ethiopian citizen journalism is vulnerable for misuse?

A video allegedly showing an Ethiopian mother beating her own daughter began to circulate on March 28, 2012, online and it storms controversy amongst the Ethiopian online community.

The event did explode on Ethiopian mainstream media as the Reporter translated it into headline news and an alleged pro-EPRDF local radio talk show hosts Seifu Fantahun and Temesgen Afework picked the story while the noise is still loud and clear on facebook and blogs.

Though Ethiopians are a bit behind in catching up with citizens journalism, but as cell phone penetration grows by the million( by the way just last night ETV claimed that we reached 17 million cell phone users and 600 thousand internet users), social media specifically facebook users has started to make their presence felt. The alleged child “abuse” video could be one example. Let me save about citizen journalism’s increase statistics in Ethiopia and its impact for another post. Now let me focus on the video in question and how it could be taken as a case in point in illustrating the waste of social media.

There is no question about the seriousness of the acts of the woman who thumped repetitively on the face of the muted little girl and most of the response to a child “abuse” video I would say is appropriate. I would describe the heated responses as righteous anger. Righteous anger is the kind of momentary anger but a compelling rage and it is an experience which one suffers following a swift read-through of social media feeds like the one in the question. Righteous anger leads too much sharing, liking, tagging, tweeting and reposting, and insignificant -nevertheless creditable amount of activism. Like the ones stop child abuse in Ethiopia, stop abusing Ethiopian woman in Arab Countries etc.

Of course a short wave of online activism has its own virtues and each of all online acts against an injustice like this one has its place in a greater online discussion. But I strongly sense that the likes of Seifu picked up this particular story because they have seen the mass righteous anger on social media sphere as an opportunity to spread out their influence further. Here I just want to ask where these noisy guys have been when the story of Yenesew Gebre was smearing the Ethiopian social media sphere. Why on earth someone fails to pick the story from facebook? As hypocritical as things getting a certain individual even went on to appear on one local radio to award a 10,000 Ethiopian Birr (about US$600) for someone who direct police to the arrest of the woman who “abused” the little girl. The person who captured the video popped up and grabbed her 10,000 Ethiopian Birr prize and told the radio that she captured the video three years ago. Currently, the Federal Police Commission justice is looking into this case.

For those who blow the story of a poor typical Ethiopian mom and the little child out of all proportion, even though it is just on paper Art. 29 of the constitution in addition, to guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression, guarantee the right to receive information on matters concerning public interest. However, there are also articles that have concerns over balancing the right to information with the protection of minors and right to privacy.

For those who claim that they are too neutrals too pick up the story of Yenesew Gebre from facebook I would like to remind them if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. — Desmound Tutu

Victory of Adowa, Eskinder Nega, Lower Omo Valley and others: Ethiopia Blog Roundup

From highlighting the function of the symbolic victory of Adowa in redefining the ethos of being Ethiopian to equating all oppressive Ethiopian regimes from Emperor Menelik II to Meles Zenawi in suppressing freedom in general, this past week Ethiopians on facebook covered a wide-range of perspectives. Covering a wide range of opinions, including Ethiopia is young nation with antique civilization, Adowa as a source of Ethiopians subjugation opposed to freedom, Emperor Menelik as a black colonist versus redeemer of Ethiopia, Oromia Shall Be Free, and Ethiopians should still continue to fight for political freedom, and many others. But they all highlight how Ethiopians hold branched out perspectives on at least hypothetically common values such as the victory of Adowa and other cultural mores. They also discuss how the victory of Adowa is manipulated by various regimes of Ethiopia.

However I strongly believe that snuffing out the liberty of putting such divergent views on public media will lead us to more incongruity as a nation and eventually stifle public growth. Therefore, as one this past week’s zeitgeist on social media amongst Ethiopians is about victory of Adowa I have decided to round up some facebook posts together with some other blog posts that caught my attention during the week.

The discussion about the victory of Adowa was set with two beautifully written and profoundly moving articles on addisnegeronline by its founding journalists who are in exile: Mesfen Negash and Tamrat Negara. Tamrat’s article “የ አደዋ ልጅ አልነበርኩም፤ አይደለሁም፤ ምናልባት ምናልባት ወደፊት ልሆን እችላለሁኝ!” that can literally be translated as “I am not from Adowa but I might be one in the future” which actually comes as response to Mesfen’s article “የአድዋ ልጆች፤ምኒሊክ፤መለስ” እና እኔ” its English equivalence could be “Sons of Adowa, Menelik,Melese and Myself”

These two articles, which both are shared on Addis Neger’s facebook page are judicious equally in their analysis and presentation but signify at least two contrasting views of victory of Adowa, Emperor Menelik, freedom and of course the whole notion of Ethiopia.

Unlike these two luminous articles the reactions and comments to these articles are not as such incandescent. But it a splendor of social media and anonymity, yes a few of them are outrageous and transgress limits but the majority of the commentators were so decent. My hope is these kinds of discussions and debates will continue offline to traverse real harmony amongst ourselves. If you think you have missed a lot on this issue please look at this page created by Abel Wabella to carry on the debate amongst Ethiopian bloggers and e-public.

Another blog post that comes to my attention is that Ethiopia plans to take away its army from Somalia by the end of April. Elsewhere on YouTube, video which epitomizes Ethiopian maids’ crisis in the Middle East is currently debated over. Actually De Birahan have given a detailed perspective on the current issue of human right abuse of workers in general titled “Cultural Revolution in Ethiopia” taking the incident as an anecdote.

Meanwhile Africa Review wrote Ethiopian dissidents have formed National Transitional Council in a bid to depose the incumbent government. International Rivers reported that the national parks of the Lower Omo Valley in Southwest Ethiopia are under threat. Are you weary of depressing blog posts round up of mine? Please do not be there is few encouraging post- PEN International, the writers’ organization dedicated to promoting literature and freedom of expression, opened a new center in Ethiopia

Last but not least, I’m curious to hear my readers’ reactions about The Economists Baobab’s blog speculation that Ethiopia may pardon Eskinder Nega, and two Swedish journalists. Is it likely?

Ethiopian Blogs Roundup

This will be my new weekly post to help you stay up-to-date with Ethiopian social media sphere; here I will round up some of the blog posts and facebook posts that caught my attention.

To begin with survival international released a report this week, “Survival uncovers shocking human rights abuses in Ethiopia” From its first paragraph:

Survival has uncovered shocking new evidence of human rights abuses against tribes in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, as government efforts to develop lucrative sugar cane plantations in the region intensify

Survival’s report actually comes across with another report on Aljazeera by Dominic Brown, an independent filmmaker and writer which comes under ferocious backing a week and criticism just a before Survival’s report. Here is the link of Aljazeera’s report. And on Guardian’s Global development blog: “Ethiopia dam project rides roughshod over heritage of local tribes people”.

BBC.CO.UK presents a reflective analysis about land grab titled “Land grab or development opportunity?” on its site with a link from World Bank which documented media reports of land deals over the period between 2008 and 2009. You can see Ethiopia’s situation when it is contrasted with the rest of Africa.

The Amharic version of “The Reporter” posts a news report that Andualem Aragie a politician standing trial for terrorism charges is said be beaten in his prison cell by a convicted murderer. In fact this hideous act was allegedly instigated by the ruling party and did not go unnoticed with many Ethiopian social media enthusiast sharing the news and opinions on their walls.

Another main event which frenzied the social media sphere is the death of Sebhat Gebregziabher, celebrated Amharic writers of Amharic Naturalism literature.

Tesfaye Gebreab
who is the centre of a major controversy by drawing disapproval and support from his old buddies and new fans because of his non-fiction books published his new blog of late. And he wrote about his quandary to publish his third major nonfiction book titled “የስደተኛው ማስታወሻ” which can roughly be translated as “The Diary of the Exiled” as he fears EPRP might scan his book and put it on the net as they did same on Mengistu Hailemarim’s Memoir. By the way I recently am having some trouble in accessing Tesfaye’s blog; shall I fear the worst which is obviously blocking

Addis Ababa University’s School of journalism against journalists?

There is barely any example found in the world that a school of journalism to take side against journalists and make them look awful and destructive in their attempt to seek excellence in journalism.

What an outrageous option did the dean of the School of Journalism- Addis Ababa University have opted at critical junctures that a “good” appearance of the School of Journalism, well at least for donors as the school was at first initiated with a huge pump of money from Swedish neighbors –Norwegians.

In his interview you can read it here .Amharic version with the state owned Amharic daily Addis Zemen; the Dean of the School of Journalism converted the “good “image of the school of journalism into a destructive and sinister outlook! This is so menacing at least for existing students because the school still heavily relays on expatriate voluntary teachers from all over the world

The Dean took a swipe at two Swedish journalists who are currently serving their 11 year sentence in prison. He censured them in a blatantly one-sided fashion on inside page rather than the front. He said that “the Swedish journalists were caught in a region where there is no fuss ,media spotlight or whatsoever and their trial has nothing to do with freedom of speech and freedom of expression … are all things we have been hearing on global media is rubbish ” Translated from Amharic . This seems a bit extreme for a school of journalism which prides itself as progressive with a high standard of academic freedom.

Never mind, because the dean of the school went further, arguing that “if our government had filed a complaint for an international court, urging an investigation into the actions of these two Swedish journalists and their employer media ,both would have been fined seriously” Do not ever dare to laugh to yourself because this is not a comic story.

“This country has law and order and they could have lodged their request through legal method” said the dean. At times that may well be true. But hang on – didn’t the dean know about investigative journalism. The dean’s remark seems to imply that these journalists never attempt to get information in an appropriate way. He seems to rush for the conclusion that the journalists committed egregious breaches of Ethiopia’s laws.
Just one final point no doubt there is more freedom in higher education than elsewhere, but there is no prospect of journalism departments in Ethiopia’s Universities turning into vibrant training centre for our future journalists with such kind of bashing sentiment for journalists.

An Incomplete guide to Ethiopian Blogs

It seems that since the social media motivated Arab uprisings Ethiopians turned their face to digital media for alternative voices as Ethiopia’s traditional media landscape is subjugated by pro-government and government media. Ethiopians’ hopes for relatively better freedom of expression have never been higher, at least since all exiled media can be accessed through internet.

Against this backdrop every time I logged in to my facebook or twitter account I observe new Ethiopian blog url’s shared by Ethiopian bloggers and social media aficionado. Then I decided to share the list with my readers but the challenge is where can I get a complete list of Ethiopian blogs? No problem it can be a partial list but my readers and fellow bloggers can recommend and make it inclusive. If I may start with news blogs ….

News blogs

The control of government grip on traditional media in the country is far above the ground, but it is being challenged, and sporadically supplanted, by an embryonic Ethiopian blogs and social media enthusiasts reversing time-honored notions of the contours of informational flows between diasporas and homelands. For your Ethiopian related contents that are blocked in Ethiopia are available in one of the following Ethiopian blogs. Have a look at one of the following blogs and of course these are not the only ones

http://ethioandinet.wordpress.com
http://jontambek.wordpress.com
http://danielberhane.wordpress.com
http://andthree.wordpress.com

Reflective Blogs

If you are looking for opinions be it on politics, religion, education, or homosexuality the following blogs will let you know or direct you at least to what is being said on the issues by Ethiopians. Please complete the list.

http://abelawinet.blogspot.com
http://afroaddis.wordpress.com
http://arefe.wordpress.com/
http://afterride.wordpress.com
http://www.debirhan.com
http://www.danielkibret.com
http://fasiledes.posterous.com
http://sukersays.com/
http://eweket.wordpress.com
http://antigaye.wordpress.com/
http://zeelittletes.wordpress.com/

Philosophy blogs
Here is a confession-“I was baptized and brought up in the Orthodox Christian faith. I was taught it in childhood and throughout my boyhood and youth. But when I abandoned the second course of the university at the age of eighteen I no longer believed any of the things I had been taught” This actually is Tolstoy’s confession of the late 19th century but if you are interested to read similar confessions by other bloggers or philosophers I bet Zelalem’s blog worth clicks. I wish many bloggers will join this list of bloggers here and Zelalem, you will “never walk alone”.

http://zelalemkibret.wordpress.com

Literary Blogs

You love literary touch pieces, the following blogs are a good staring place.

http://freemanpoets.wordpress.com
http://tgindex.blogspot.com Tesfaye Gebreab’s blog

Academic Blogs dominated by law blogs

http://www.abyssinialaw.com
http://www.ethiopian-law.com
http://abookmedhin.wordpress.com
http://chilot.me

Programming geek’s blog

http://livetocodedotnet.wordpress.com

As conclusion
These blogs are increasing in number and influencing those who have access to technology to recognize information in their own context. Delicious developmental information is no longer entirely determined by pro-government media. Besides these blogs are presenting information that is inaccessible in a traditional mainstream media .After all do we have a mainstream media in Ethiopia? Anyway try them all.Now, anyone with access to the Internet can consume whatever information individuals have put up in the form of blog posts, whether it is direct reporting of an experience, or a personal translation of the experience. Keep up the good work and bloggers!

One final point

Two of the following fast budding facebook groups of Ethiopian bloggers are commendable options to go through Ethiopian blogs both inside and outside Ethiopia. The links are here and here

Why SOPA will be a tragedy for Africa

By Frank Nyakairu

A colleague of mine from Kenya highlighted in highly contextualized fashion about SOPA’s impact on Africa.Enjoy reading it and join the struggle against Stop Online Piracy Act

It’s been said that example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. Perhaps the truth of this saying is attested in the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and “The PROTECT IP Act” (PIPA) are proposed laws in the United States. But Uncle Sam’s bill meant to stop online copyright infringements is bitterly opposed in what is probably the most detested legislation process beyond the United States. Debate is rife. Its contenders argue that, SOPA/PIPA will protect trademarks, especially entertainment giants by stopping online piracy of content such as music books and movies. To stop that, it grants the US Attorney General the right to inflict penalty on websites accused of hosting copyright content. It is also intended to crack down on offending websites operating outside the US. But prescribing SOPA/PIPA as a remedy for online piracy is way too strong that it will kill the ‘patient’. Africa, the world’s poorest continent, stands to be affected most.

Killing Online Me

As an African journalism, whose lives life is up in to the cyberspace, I’m virulently opposed to SOPA/PIPA because of their far-reaching consequences directly threatening my online life. Here is how: if I posted a new blog on Rebelweb.me on any topic say censorship, and the post attracts a string of comments, one of which carries a single offending link, I will be directly liable for copyright infringement. Rebelweb.me, risks an immediate takedown without proof required, or due process, will seek a takedown penalty to compel my US-based domain register, Go Daddy, to deregister my domains. Go Daddy has shamelessly supported SOPA at some point. This is insanity. What does my blog, authored in East Africa, have anything to do with a US law? How can such a law be passed by United States? How can such an idea come from such a ‘democracy’ in the 21st century? Does the US have the slightest idea about the SOPA/PIPA ripple effects? Do they care anyway? Internet: Africa’s new ‘Enemy of the State’

Most Africa’s governments have been fast and creative at copying Uncle Sam’s bad manners. This is strategic. Reason? Because Uncle Sam will not raise a finger just like it occurred his ‘War on Terror’. Policies the made-up the global war on extremist terrorist groups instead led to spiral of atrocious and oppressive legislations especially in East Africa. Opposition groups and journalists, I inclusive suffer and risk arbitrary arrest and detention without trial, and even relocation to third countries in extraordinary renditions. An anti-terror policy instead armed autocratic states with perfect tools of oppression. All thanks to Uncle Sam and SOPA is another opportunity in the nip of time. Timely because it comes when the Internet is being relegated to a list of enemies the state after offering invincible social platforms for activities to overthrow three dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in 2011. If passed into law, SOPA will trigger off a series of opportunistic, harsh and even more draconian legislations around in Africa. The will be mainly modeled to that target online dissent and journalists. It will then be lawful to switch off social forums if deemed a threat to “national security” by aiding circulation of any information. Some laws may even go beyond patents to include government secrets, which if published, websites will easily taken down. With SOPA, governments will no longer obscurely filter, block and arrest those behind the online activities. They will do this with deep impunity in broad daylight. All this, thanks to ‘Uncle Sam’ and he will not raise a finger. That is partly why the last decade has been characterized by alloyed skepticism over the American brand of democracy. There is growing disillusionment and realization that democracy made in America is not a panacea for the world’s ills and rights abuses but part of them.

Global call for rebellion

Yes we can! We can kill SOPA. That is if we up our game rally together and sound our drums of global dissent at the US from Tokyo to LA, from Nuuk to Cape Town. Lets sign all major anti-SOPA petitions. Let’s press it upon the Internet giants like Yahoo, eBay, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Netscape, to move fast in staging a planned global Internet blackout, which will pinch everybody including the bills proponents. And yes, in this crucial election year, we can also make SOPA a serious foreign policy issue for Barak Obama who plans to retain White House. SOPA should have no place in this world today, as we all know it.

The global press unites behind Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson: ለኢትዮጵያውኑ ጋዜጠኞች ማን ይጩህላቸው?

The international media’s reaction on the verdict of the two Swedish journalists of supporting a terrorist group has been frenzied and largely censuring both the trial and finding of an Ethiopian high court. Time framed the account as a deplorable decision on its website. Huffingtonpost.com took identical stance on the story with Time. In Britain telegraph opted to focus on the demand of the Sweden government to release the journalists. Both Aljazeera and Christian Science Monitor estimated the sentence on the pair to be up to 15 years which is expected to be handed next week while many other media outlets took it up to 20 years.

Meanwhile only a handful of Ethiopian local media grabbed the story with a report of a greatest precautious detachment. The Amharic version of “The Reporter” wrote the verdict excluding any of the remarks made by any of international human right, press watch dog organizations and of course Swedish diplomatic community. Sheger FM is another local radio that approached the story with preventative measure of any sort of repercussion. Actually they had good reason to be cautious as they are vulnerable of being indicted of supporting terrorism because at present Ethiopia has accused more than ten journalists on the bases of litigious anti-terrorism law.

However Ethiopian exiled journalists and the online Ethiopian public are free from such apprehension of being indicted and write about this complicated and prolonged case of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye. Apparently the major Ethiopian exiled online media; Addis Neger, brought the bona fide remarks of many Ethiopians to the world’s attention immediately after the court ruled the verdict. In breaking the news Addis Negers wrote on their facebook page:

“The Kangaroo court in Addis Ababa ruled this morning that the two Swedish journalists are guilty of supporting terrorist organizations. According to the draconian “Anti-Terrorism” law of Ethiopia, “encouragement of terrorism” is punishable by a rigorous imprisonment of 10-20 years”.

Many of the comments followed this facebook update of Addis Neger have largely backed Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye to get released and demanded the Swedish government to take hard line stance on Ethiopian government and pointed the finger of blame at the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his cronies.

Abiye Teklemariam, journalist who himself is being prosecuted in absentia with terrorism charges believes the unlucky capture and trial of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye is pinpointing that if the Ethiopian government treats foreigners from donor countries badly, it treats locals even worse. He reacted on the decision of the panel of judges and their unanimous verdict after he quoted the statement of the middle man of jury, Shemsu Sirgaga
….“They have not been able to prove that they did not support terrorism,” [judge] Shemsu said, speaking in Ethiopia’s Amharic language….”Since they were caught with (ONLF) rebels we find it difficult to believe they only came to find that information.”

Abiy wrote “Is it conceivable that these judges have an even touristic knowledge of criminal law? Nauseating!”

Further damage to already damaged reputation of journalists’ treatment

In their reporting many international media organization made a reference of Ethiopian authorities’ bad reputation of journalists’ treatment and this could only broaden the already damaged reputation of Ethiopia. CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes was quoted by many international media saying “We have reached a seminal point, which unfortunately we hit in the 2005 post-election crisis,” Furthermore Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher Claire Beston highlighted that “The sheer numbers of arrests and prosecutions this year indicate a systematic crackdown, a systematic dismantling of the last few independent voices,”

Indeed, I have been also chronicling the case of Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson and the general context in which Ethiopian journalists are operating since the trial Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson has begun in Addis Ababa in October.My reporting has included analyses of how the Ethiopian media both private and government media is covering court proceedings; how David Isaac, Eritrean-Swedish, was reported in Ethiopia’s media and the state of freedom of expression in Ethiopia such as continues brandish of arrests and accusations of journalists and opposition leaders. These malaises are most visible in Ethiopian media landscape since the ratification of the contentious anti-terrorism proclamation in 2009 which lead to the closure of independent newspapers, accusations, detentions and kicking out of journalists and bloggers out of their country.

Estimate on the pair’s sentences

Months before the verdict has been handed dawn to the journalists the international media has been guessing what would happen to the Swedes. Now the journalists are officially declared guilty of supporting terrorism on 21 December, much of the international media are already reporting the journalists could face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced on December 27.Now, the failure of Swedish government to oblige the Ethiopian government has become a dominant theme. Kiflu Hussain,a notable human right defender and writer said

‎””Silent diplomacy” failed. The Westerns along with the Swedes themselves who are merciless on the likes of Mugabe & Afwerki,cannot save the two Swedish journalists from their favorite dictator, Meles Zenawi.Apparently,the conviction by the Kangaroo court leads to long term incarceration. But I bet they’d be released soon since Zenawi always has something up his sleeve with this sort of “internationally “publicized cases. The question’s; would the Swedish journalists be sworn in to silence from speaking out against prison conditions in Ethiopia or would they disparage Zenawi’s regime like those Americans did after being pardoned by Tehran?”

However in a statement, Mr Reinfeldt does not agree with such views and said Sweden viewed the convictions in a very serious light and was already making high-level contact with the Ethiopian government to secure their release.”Our position is and continues to be that they were in the country on a journalistic assignment. They must be released as soon as possible in order to be reunited with their families in Sweden,” wrote BBC citing an official statement of Sweden Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Regardless of the upcoming sentence Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson would thank their colleagues all over the world for keeping them at the center of global media attention. It is evident that the Swedish media and journalists all over the world have done a huge public relations campaign to free them.

What was Ethiopians searching on Google in 2011?

Last year I published what Ethiopians were searching in 2010 on the web. As 2011 is in close proximity to be over here is what Ethiopian internet users have been searching throughout 2011. Though there are no basic change interims of search term from 2010, there are some surprises. Let’s see the top searches by dividing them into three groups as top web search, news, images and product searches.
In similar manner as in 2010 the most regularly requested search term on Google by Ethiopians in 2011 is the social networking site, Facebook. The remaining top ten searches are not of big revelation – they are a blend of e-mail websites like Gmail and Yahoo. Ethiopia and BBC news are also amongst the top searched terms in 2011.
Google’s fastest rising search list also revealed that Gaddafi, DV2013 and an Ethiopian Television Drama called Sew le Sew are among fastest rising searches on Google. With DV2013 is a break out the remaining are almost comparable with top search terms.
Despite relentless coverage of the Great Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile by government and local media; it seems Ethiopians online are not interested to Google it. There is no single search item for the news of the grand project in the top searched items but it appears that the word “Abay” which means Blue Nile is among fastest rising search list.
Google Insights for Search, which registers the most searched images, reveals that Rihanna, Meles Zenawi, Renaldo were among the key words punched by many Ethiopians online.
Google Insights for Search sounds like a tool for everyone who is interested to know what Ethiopians were searching on Google should try it. Here is the link

Ethiopian journalists locked up in terrorism charges neglected in “media fog” of Swedish journalists of equal if not identical case.

Woubeshet Taye, Reyot Alemu, Eskinder Nega, Sileshi Hagos and at least four others have been ignored in the “fog” of an attentive international media reporting and social media driven public relations campaign to free two imprisoned Swedish journalists; Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson whose verdict is expected to be concluded on 21 December 2011.

Indeed, I have been chronicling the case of Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson and the general context in which Ethiopian journalists are operating since the trial Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson has begun in Addis Ababa in October. My reporting has included analyses of how the Ethiopian media both private and government media is covering court proceedings; how David Isaac, Eritrean-Swedish, was reported in Ethiopia’s media and the state of freedom of expression in Ethiopia such as continues brandish of arrests and accusations of journalists and opposition leaders. These malaises are most visible in Ethiopian media landscape since the ratification of the contentious anti-terrorism proclamation in 2009 which lead to the closure of independent newspapers, accusations, detentions and kicking out of journalists and bloggers out of their country.
Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson were pleaded not guilty in an Ethiopian court on Thursday to terrorism charges after they were caught with allegedly fighters of an outlawed rebel group called ONLF in the country’s Ogaden region last July.
In the rigorous Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson media coverage, eight other Ethiopian journalists — whose similar made up terrorism charges — has disappeared from most of the views of major international news media organization with the exception of handful news media organizations that have tried to shed light on cases of the Ethiopian journalists in light of the Swedish journalists.
“The world barely noticed these politico-criminal dramas in one of the west’s closest African allies – until the unfortunate arrest and trial of two Swedish journalists. Good news? Well, a useful rule of thumb is that if the Ethiopian government treats foreigners from donor countries badly, it treats locals even worse.” wrote Abiye Teklemariam Megenta who himself is being prosecuted in absentia with terrorism charges in his latest article on opendemocracy.net
The international news media coverage of the cases and the campaign on social media has been so effective so far and managed the international community to think of the defendants as highly- respected investigative journalists with wide-ranging experience in taking assignments in all over the world.
Sweden’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, pointed out many journalists with the similar experience of the defendants has offered to be a professional witness, and two have flown to Addis Ababa. “Something very impressive is happening,” Odlander told for international news media in Addis Ababa. “We had a mail sent out to a few contact people we know about, some journalists, and they forwarded it to maybe 800 plus foreign correspondents, mainly from Anglo-Saxon countries, and we had at least 20 people who were ready to come and witness, and very many people told us they would write a story about this case.”

It is apparent that his comments come in the mildest of the high coverage of the trial on Wednesday and Thursday by the international media. “A British and an American war correspondent called as expert witnesses by the defense appeared in court on Wednesday, telling the court that entering a country illegally for reporting purposes is a work method commonly used by journalists in conflict zones”, reported Aljazeera.com. “Ethiopian Court Mulls Journalists’ Role in Conflict Zones” writes VOA in its English news website.
Regardless of the upcoming verdict Martin Schibbye & Johan Persson would thank their colleagues all over the world for keeping them at the center of global media attention. It is evident that the Swedish media and journalists all over the world have done a huge public relations campaign to free them.

In contrast, coverage of Ethiopian journalists locked up for terrorism charges though it is significant it is not as intensified as it should be. And Ethiopia’s local media gives insignificant attention for the matter ether. I never come across a single news, feature or commentary on Ethiopian government media regarding the cases of both accused Ethiopian and Swedish journalists.