Disinformation, Vilification of Gov’t Part of Psychological Warfare Against Ethiopia: Prof. Bahiru Zewde

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December 18/2021 (ENA) The amount of disinformation in the mainstream media, the glorification of rebels, and the vilification of the government are part of the psychological warfare launched against Ethiopia, the renowned Ethiopian Historian, Professor Bahiru Zewde said.

The professor made the remark at a Webinar conference organized by the Ethiopian Embassy in South Africa, in collaboration with the Association of Ethiopian Professionals in South Africa under the theme, “The Conflict in Ethiopia: Diplomacy, Misinformation/ Disinformation, and Reconstruction.”

Ethiopian Historian, Professor Bahru Zewde, Professor Ann Fitz Gerald, Ambassador Iqbal Jazbay, and Director of Foreign Media Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Mesfin Demessie, have presented papers on various topics at the conference, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Professor Bahru deliberated on the unresolved question of identity in Ethiopia and how ethnic and national identities have been accommodated throughout Ethiopian history.

The amount of disinformation in the mainstream media, the glorification of rebels, and the vilification of the government are part of the psychological warfare launched against Ethiopia, he said.

He also spoke on the litany of Foreign Policy disasters of the U.S. in different countries that should not be repeated in the Ethiopian case, whatever interests that the U.S. may need to advance in Ethiopia.

Professor Ann Fitz Gerald, on her part said those who report on Ethiopia demonstrated a lack of knowledge and context regarding the country.

This, in turn, resulted in influencing policies to be formulated on a flawed basis, she said.

We need to take control of the information we consume, she said, adding that research in the area of social media propagation, stance detection, and analysis in terms of the conflict in Ethiopia is imperative.

She said the development of African-based media organizations should be supported and professionalized to the highest level to take back the continent’s narrative.

People should expose and oppose agents of intimidation who are against the expression of diverse voices, she added.

Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay from the University of South Africa appreciated the historic rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea as a seminal home-grown agreement that showed the power of indigenous solutions to challenges.

He said Ethiopia’s and Eritrea’s recent history needs further reflection and a reconstruction plan shall be charted out based on that reflection and with lessons that may be drawn from experiences of South Africa.

Director of Foreign Media Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Mesfin Demessie, on his part, spoke on how disinformation campaigns and underrepresentation of positive stories about Ethiopia have remained the modus operandi of the mainstream media, since the eruption of the conflict.

As part of meeting the challenges of the conflict, he urged the international community to visit the Amhara and Afar regions and witness the level of atrocities and destroyed infrastructures and support the proposed national dialogue in the country.  

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