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OMN (Oromia Media Network) Tasked to Serve the Majority Hitherto Systematically Excluded from Media in Ethiopia

By Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni*

When one looks at the media landscape in Ethiopia (both the print and the broadcasting media), for more than one century, successive Ethiopian regimes have used the public resources and government apparatus to build, educate and inform only the Amharic-speaking segment of the population (not necessarily the ethnic Amhara per se), which constitutes less than one fourth of the Ethiopian population.

The century-long segregationist government media policy has enabled this Amharic-speaking group to fortify itself in the urban areas, government civil service institutions, religious and cultural institutions of all sorts; and specifically, it has enabled this group to be the economically and politically favored and empowered. The economic, political, linguistic, social and cultural fabrics and institutions of the over 70 percent of the Ethiopian population had been forcefully and systematically dismantled; and the people were left in the dark for the silent communal extermination over a period of time.

Even today, almost all media institutions established in the name of Ethiopia by the elements of this group, both at home and in the Diaspora, serve the exclusive interests of this group. To the utter dismay of the 75% of the marginalized and segregated segment of the Ethiopian population, even foreign government media outlets, such as the United States Government funded Voice of America (VOA)’s Amharic radio program, and the German Government funded Deutsche Welle’s Amharic program are systematically made to serve the exclusive interests of this group; all in the name of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people.

The advent of the Oromia Media Network (OMN), soon to be inaugurated, on this segregationist media environment in Ethiopia is one major step forward to reach the hitherto excluded Oromo people, who constitute over 40 percent of the Ethiopian population. To further create a credible alternative media platform that reaches the more than 70% of the Ethiopian population excluded by the old segregationist media policy, continued measures need to be taken by including the excluded segment of our people in the South and make our people the beneficiary of the 21st century information driven global economic, political and cultural progresses. Congratulations to all the initiators, organizers and supporters of the Oromia Media Network.

* Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni is an Attorney & Counselor at Law, and a former Legal Affairs Advisor in the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations.


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6 Comments

  1. Garo:

    February 25, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

    I think it is a good start if it stays true to the values of fair media. It will even be better if the voices of non Oromo Southern people are heard on this network.

  2. Abbaa-Daamaa:

    February 26, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

    It is the big step to create the first Oromo Media that include different media brunches – Radios, Internets,Websites and all communications – that are existing communications have one center. It is a vital instruments have forum that help them say their words on the common goal, debate on the differences on this Media, find solutions and reach the final goal.

    It is very important, too, to the other oppressed people in the South, even those who have had and have power today know and understand the whole problem the Empire has that make difference.

    Finally, the Media is a bigger power than guns to regain freedom, dignity and rights.

  3. Ayyaanaa:

    February 27, 2014 @ 5:28 am

    Indeed, it is great news and I am hopeful that the people behind this grand project will succeed and be fruitful and remain true to their enunciated values.
    Now it up to us to remain vigilant, supportive and above all participate in the funding areas.
    While the network truly should reflect the broad spectrum of Oromo essence, it should also include many of the issues and tribulations of the people of the South, East and West. The network should also reflect on the current status of the people to the North of us.
    May Waaqaa give you the needed strength, fortitude, perseverance and wisdom to carry on your noble endeavors.

  4. Wal baraa:

    February 28, 2014 @ 3:54 am

    Birhanemesqal Sanyii torbaan kana afaan oromootiin oguun voa irratti dubbatu sidhageefadhe Nangamade ulfaadhu Dhugaan girtu akkassi Hayyooni oromoo akeeka gaarii kan nu tokkomsu irratti nu jabeessa girtu Itti fufaa qaamni waa bare saba tokkofi ifnana
    Galata guddaa qabda

  5. Tegegn H Gebissa:

    March 4, 2014 @ 2:46 am

    I hope you stand for the truth and report the truth only with out the purpose of hate and division among the rest of Ethiopian peoples and no body need BERE WOLEDE News like ESAT.

  6. dulo:

    March 13, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

    Tegegan Gebissa, what are you trying to preach Brahnmeskel. There is no one like your Debteras who carry century long lies of entire picture of the Oromo people. Brhan is well educated Lawyer I am confident he will not add lies but facts that your uncles are hiding for a century about the true nature of Oromo people and marginalzation history. So keep your ear big open and listen to the truth. you seem to afraid what he will be taking about. Also if you will listen to his past interview regarding your Amhara culture, language and other good things your Amhara Kings have been hiding and telling false to western writers. GO on youtube and type brahanmeskel interview. You will find two interviews.
    Good luck to you