Mainstream Media Violating Own Policies in Reporting Ethiopian Issues: Prof. Fitz-Gerald

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November 24/ 2021 (ENA) Some of the international Mainstream Media outlets have been violating the media ethics and their own policies regarding reporting on the issues of Ethiopia, University of Waterloo Professor, Ann Fitz-Gerald said.

Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald told ENA that “We have seen high-levels of irresponsibility across the mainstream media” in reporting issues regarding to the current affairs of Ethiopia by citing  incidents.

“The photos used by the CNN to depict the image of troops TPLF fighters entering Addis Ababa, irrespective of the fact that this same pictures were used in May, and reported by CNN to have been taken in Tigray was very irresponsible and it is against media reporting ethics”.

Fitz-Gerald added that this was not the first time especially with CNN. “We also had a story that was developed by one of CNN`s correspondents on the issue of bodies being found in the Tekeze River near Humera”.

The story was changed because it included factual errors and there was no reason given by the CNN explaining why the story was changed, she elaborated. “And again if we look at media ethics and media standards, this is unacceptable”.

“So, we have seen mainstream media outlets violating their own policies,” Professor Fitz-Gerald affirmed.

Regarding the recent moves from the government to engage more in digital diplomacy, she said it has to be one of the national priorities going forward.

“What we have heard from the government recently is its intention to pursue digital diplomacy and I think we are living in a digital age and I think everything we do has to be digital to some extent in the information age and in the age where social media can amplify any kind of different narratives,” she indicated.

To fill these gaps, Fitz-Gerald noted “I just encourage the policy makers to strike a sensible balance between digital diplomacy and follow-up in virtual world and personal levels of diplomacy”.

“I would make a strong call to the government to invest in very powerful communications capacity, communications that can always maintain control of the narrative and have that culture, cascade down to all the line ministries,” Prof. Fitz-Gerald further stressed.

Accordingly, this would help not only bring the informed population foreword with government and government actors and it would also bring the diplomatic community and meaningful partnerships of Ethiopia and meaningful friends of Ethiopia together with the country.

Stating that such culture needs to be developed at the highest levels, she said it needs to be treated as a national priority and needs to be embodied in whatever strategy the government develops moving forward.