Viewpoint

OMN: An ‘alien’ star in Ethiopia’s skewed media universe is ‘cancelled’

Oromia Media Network was a rare non-Amharic voice in Ethiopia’s media landscape. That is why its bureau was shutdown.

Oromia Media Network (OMN) is an independent media enterprise established in the U.S. six and a half years ago. Its stated mission is producing original and citizen-driven news and stories on Oromia and Ethiopia. The network is financed and operated by an extensive network of grassroots movements and the wider diaspora.

Among its early successes, OMN successfully guided the peaceful struggle of Oromo youth–the Qeerroo—that propelled Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018. In a move that history may record as ironic, OMN became the victim of its own success, when Abiy’s “reformist” government cracked down on the media house following the assassination of Oromo artist and rights activist Hachalu Hundessa on 29 June.

Two days after Hachalu’s killing, security forces raided and effectively shut down the OMN operation in the capital, Finfinne, the indigenous Oromo name for Addis Ababa. The premises were illegally searched, staff members detained, the organisation’s bank accounts blocked, and computers and broadcast equipment seized.

After establishing itself in exile as a Pan-Oromo voice—bringing stories from Oromia to the world and vice versa for more than four years—OMN was warmly welcomed by millions when it returned home in August 2018, particularly at the official event organized at the Millennium Hall. The move created such an excitement within the international community that the 26th World Press Freedom Day celebration was held in Ethiopia in recognition of the country’s bold move in opening up the free media landscape.

OMN had to replicate its U.S. operation to get established as OMN-Finfinne in Ethiopia (henceforth referred to as OMN), but maintained a close working relationship with its mother company, the Minnesota-based OMN. The government swiftly offered support, particularly in cutting bureaucratic red tape during registration and licensing. OMN’s working relations with the country’s media watchdog organization, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA), began well, but soon soured due to political interference, both from the Prime Minister’s Office and from other detractor groups within the media establishment that may have viewed it as a threat to their control of the dominant narrative.

Skewed landscape 

Ethiopia’s tightly-controlled media machinery has historically been defined by its imperialist slant. The direction of flow of news stories and agendas has always followed the route of the imperial march—from north-to-south! That is to say, elitist media narratives have always been set in the perspectives and language of the Abyssinians, whose wilful indifference to issues of justice and equality for the peoples of the wider south continues to this day, adding more layers onto the edifices constructed within the Ethiopian state to preserve their dominant status.

Hence, OMN was an ‘alien’ star beaming a light onto a “black hole” within the stellar constellation of Ethiopia’s historically inequitable media universe. It therefore had to be snuffed out.

What’s more, just weeks before the crackdown on OMN, it was reported that there are 30+ television and 60+ radio stations operating in Ethiopia with legal licenses. Most are based in Oromia’s capital Finfinne, but only a few of them use languages other than Amharic. To be precise, only four, including the state-owned Oromia Broadcasting Network, broadcast in the Oromo language—Afaan Oromoo.

The regulator, EBA, allowed this to happen in the heart of Oromia—a decision that could reasonably be taken as an act of imposing cultural imperialism, if not an outright linguistic genocide against the indigenous Oromo people of the area. OMN was erased from this historically unjust media firmament simply because it stood out as an ‘alien —an ‘alien’ that would be unimaginable in any country that maintains even a shred of press freedom. But, alas, this is Ethiopia.

Just as Al Jazeera’s initial mission in 2006 was to counteract the global monopoly held by western news outlets over the media narrative—that flows from northern to southern hemisphere—OMN challenged the historical biases and linguistic domination that are the hallmarks of Ethiopia’s mostly state-run media, flowing in pretty much same geographic direction. By boldly bringing to the fore stories and perspectives from Ethiopia’s diverse south, OMN provided a welcome alternative to the ‘everything’s wonderful’ picture painted by establishment media. And by so doing, OMN not only shone a light on the long-stifled quests, stories and narratives of Ethiopia’s historically subjugated southern peoples, the Oromo included, it also shook the historically biased media cabal to its core.

In all, not a bad record of achievement during the brief time OMN was permitted to operate from within the country.

Incendiary interview

And here is where the probable cause for the recent assassination of the popular Oromo artist and rights activist Hachalu Hundessa comes in. In his interview on the OMN, Hachalu had spoken about the Oromo understanding of who Emperor Menelik II was. In this telling, Menelik II was a medieval-era-styled 19th century feudal ruler who founded the Ethiopian empire by waging some of Africa’s most brutal wars of conquest and subjugation against many of the indigenous peoples, including the Oromo, in what is today southern Ethiopia.

Historical accounts of the human cost of the conquest written by foreign observers, including the emperor’s own Russian advisor Alexander Bulatovich, told that Menelik II committed crimes of genocidal proportions on some of the linguistic and cultural groups, using modern weapons provided by his European and Russian “Christian friends” from 1880 to 1900.

For instance, Bulatovich, a devout admirer who accompanied Menelik II’s army battalions during these wars of colonial conquest, wrote in his 1900 book titled “Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes” — that the Gimira people were on the verge of total extinction due to the war; but were spared after “his majesty, the emperor” ordered his army commanders to stop killing the remaining Gimira as “they shall be hunted down and caught to be sold as slaves”. Bulatovich wrote that Menelik II’s war of conquest had exterminated about 80 percent of the Gimira and 50 percent of the Oromo populations by that time.

Another book by a foreign observer, the French Catholic missionary Martial De Salviac, who had travelled extensively across the Oromo country, appears to precisely corroborate Bulatovich’s account. De Salviac’s 1901 book, “The Oromo: An Ancient People: Great African Nation” reports that of the 10 million Oromo population he estimated at the time, five million were killed in Menelik II’s war of conquest. These two independent foreign sources suggest what in another time and place would be called a genocide against the Oromo by Menelik II’s invading army, which “reduced the Oromo population by half”, to use Alexander Bulatovich’s words.

Historical accounts

These historical accounts resonate well with a compelling argument made by the Israeli historian Yuval Harari in his best-selling book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”. Harari argues that building and maintaining an empire often required the slaughter of large populations and the oppression of everyone who was left out. Harari notes that the standard toolkit in building an empire includes war, enslavement, deportation, and genocide.

“When the Romans invaded Scotland in 83 AD, they were met with fierce resistance from local Caledonian tribes, and reacted by laying waste to the country,” Harari writes. “In reply to the Roman peace offers, the chieftain Calgacus called the Romans ‘the ruffians of the world’, and said that ‘to plunder, slaughter and robbery, they give the lying name of empire, they make a desert and call it peace”. It is perhaps worth noting that, in a rare interview with a local radio station, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Harari’s book is among his favorites.

In his fateful interview with the OMN, Hachalu made a casual comment about the statue of Emperor Menelik II that stands in downtown Finfinne, suggesting that it is inevitable that the genocidal emperor’s statue would eventually be taken down in a city that is the capital of both Oromia federal state and Ethiopia’s federal government, as well as headquarters of the African Union. Hachalu’s comment came amidst of a globally heating up wave of protests that has witnessed statues of imperialist leaders and slave traders being torn down.

Historians like Harold G. Marcus regard Menelik II as the “greatest slave entrepreneur” of his time, who expropriated 10 percent of all his captives from southern Ethiopia into slavery. In line with this, in a paper he published on the journal of  African Economic History, Charles W. McClellan wrote that “while some of the slaves were deployed in the imperial gibbi (Menelik II’s palace), many others were exported to slave markets in Egypt, Arabia and east Africa, providing an important source of income for the government of emperor Menelik II”.

Hachalu’s offhand comment infuriated the falsely named “Ethiopianist” establishment, which exercises near absolute control over Ethiopia’s historical narrative. The establishment portrays Menelik II as a benevolent king, if not saint, who founded the “holy country” called Ethiopia, through “holy wars” of conquest. To dare to mention the feudal emperor’s genocidal deeds and suggest that his statue should be removed from Oromia’s capital is tantamount to trying to destroy their “emiye Ethiopia”. Measured by this yardstick, Hachalu’s comment was treasonous.

It should be underscored here that this viscerally violent and pre-political “Ethiopianist” group was resurrected and essentially emboldened not just by Abiy’s nostalgic imperialist rhetoric about the “great Ethiopia” of the past, which never existed anyway, but also by some of the practical  measures he took in his “palace renovation project” that were offensive to many southern peoples.

A day after Hachalu’s comment was broadcast, social media erupted with calls for his immediate murder—also see some of the comments written under OMN Facebook and YouTube pages in the days after the interview’s online publication. Two days later, PM Abiy appeared to indirectly criticize Hachalu, saying “only historians, not ordinary folks [like Hachalu] should make comments on the history of Ethiopia”. This statement, at a totally unrelated event to inaugurate a new bakery, can even be viewed as incitement against Hachalu.

About a month after Hachalu was assassinated, a group of young men in the capital came out in ecstasy to the street celebrating the killing of artist Hachalu, jubilantly chanting “Hachalu is dead, Jawar will be next”. On the same day, however, another youth group in the streets of the city spared Jawar from death via their rather lenient slogan “Jawar rots in jail”. In that fateful interview he had with OMN, Hachalu also told to the journalist that he has long been enduring death threats and other forms of intimidations including physical attacks from such “proud Ethiopians” every time he drives in the city.

Hijacked revolution

Prime Minister Abiy’s attitude toward Hachalu’s dissent had previously been documented. In a book titled “The Hijacked Revolution”  written by an anonymous author (pen name: Mudhin Siraj) and published about a year before Hachalu’s assassination—on page 109 of the book, the author recounts how Hachalu was summoned to the prime minister’s office for a ten-minute lecture. It was not a dialogue, but a stern ‘executive order’ in which Abiy told Hachalu in no uncertain terms that:

“…the Oromo political struggle is over. The country is now being led by an Oromo Prime Minister and, therefore, you shouldn’t dare to produce any music work which opposes my government. If you obey this strict order, we can fulfil all your material needs. But if you defy, I will not tolerate you even for a single day. Whether you like it or not, I [Abiy Ahmed] will remain leader of this country for at least the next ten years”.

As I am writing this piece, it has come to my attention that Abiy’s government has concocted a ridiculously amateurish video suggesting there is some link between Hachalu’s cold-blooded murder and two powerful Oromo opposition political groups (Oromo Federalist Congress [OFC] and Oromo Liberation Front [OLF]) and an independent, influential Oromo media house (OMN). This amateurishly doctored drama draws a fictitious triangle that purports to connect these three Oromo organizations that Abiy’s government considers its sworn opponents. The people in Oromia/Ethiopia should reject this laughable disinformation ploy; and I believe they have.

Since the day the OMN headquarters in the capital was shut down, all state-owned media and those affiliated with the ruling party have been waging a sustained propaganda campaign against the OMN. Their reason? OMN did a LIVE broadcast as Hachalu’s fans and supporters turned out in their thousands to accompany his body in the early morning hours of 30 June. But certainly, given the artist’s massive influence in Oromia and the entire country, it must have been odd for any Ethiopian media to ignore the story and come out criticizing what OMN did on that day. But alas, this is Ethiopia.

Prosperity propaganda

Plus, we see these days the government propaganda machines and affiliated detractors accusing OMN of conspiring with the propagandists’ own former master and ideological soulmate, the TPLF. The irony here is that some of these propaganda outlets like Fana Broadcasting Corporate, Walta Media and Communication Corporate are themselves the creations of the TPLF. Anyone who knows anything about OMN knows it would never have anything to do with the TPLF, or any other political party for that matter. The propagandists can choke on their words.

Furthermore, we have received credible information from within Prosperity Party circles over the last two years, that Amhara elements of the party have repeatedly demanded that the government should crackdown on the OMN and other popular Oromo entities like the OLF and OFC. And indeed, we knew this could perhaps come one day. It has long been a sticking point in internal political conversations between the Amhara and Oromo elements within the Prosperity Party, and we were anticipating the crackdown coming, especially if the balance of power tilts towards the former.

It should therefore be clearly stated here that the government’s move to shut down OMN’s headquarters in Finfinne and launch attacks against the OLF and OFC leadership is a political decision that has nothing to do with “upholding the rule of law”, as the state’s propaganda machine wants us to believe.

It is also worth noting that while the OMN and towering Oromo artists and activists like Hachalu have been sacrificing so much to save the Ethiopian empire from itself, Abiy and his “Ethiopianist” cabal are unyielding in pursuit of their counter-productive project of saving their “emiye Ethiopia” from the Oromo and the “other” peoples of the wider south. Will they be successful? The jury is still out.

Leading OMN

OMN was established as an activist entity aiming to offer extensive coverage of Oromo news and stories suppressed or ignored by state-run outlets and other interest groups in Ethiopia’s media industry. By so doing, it has developed a reputation for grassroots activism, aspiring to help mobilize Oromos in their quest for democracy, justice and equality in Ethiopia.

When I took over as Executive Director in December 2019, part of my plan was to steer OMN’s structural evolution toward more professionalism and independence. In pursuit of those goals, we devised a series of steps aimed at re-designing the organizational structure and capacity building.

The first order of business was to de-couple the organization from the shadows of my predecessor, the influential former executive director Jawar Mohammed, who had chosen to enter party politics. At that time, a commission established by the prior leadership had developed a valuable five-year strategic plan that laid out the 3Ps of OMN—passion, performance and professionalism. To broaden the audience base, the network had engaged with rights activists and intellectuals from the south, so much so that any casual visitor at office could feel OMN was a home for the perspectives of Ethiopia’s diverse nations and nationalities. And therefore, it wasn’t difficult to see the increasing influence that OMN commanded within Ethiopia’s media community, even while operating in a hostile environment marked by intimidation from the government and other interest groups.

Public service

In a multi-ethnic country like Ethiopia where over 75 distinct languages are spoken, the successful containment and control of the deadly COVID-19 virus requires a multidisciplinary approach and using as many languages as possible to communicate vital health information to the various linguistic and cultural groups. OMN’s multi-linguistic strategy in the pandemic public information campaign was widely applauded. Our unique track record of accomplishment is on display for anyone to see and judge.

One key point should be highlighted here: It is a matter of public record that no other media house, public or private, managed to regularly bring together, on a single table, teams of high-profile experts from a multitude of health science fields. Among them were epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, medical anthropologists, virologists, pharmaceutical/medical supply system specialists, pharmaco-economists, health systems managers, community health workers, pharma/health technologists, preventive medicine specialists and others to inform and educate the public about the collective effort required to effectively fight the spread of the coronavirus. OMN also employed 18 Ethiopian languages, including sign language, in disseminating WHO’s vital health information as part of its fight against COVID-19. Certainly, no media in the country has been as multilingual and multidisciplinary as this in educating the public about the danger we face.

The big question

Indulging in a scholarly debate on the pitfalls of the barbaric political project called empire was not the objective of this piece.  But this moment presents a unique opportunity. As Harari wrote in his aforementioned book, empires throughout history have crushed threats and rebellions with an iron fist; and when its day comes, a frustrated and sinking empire has always used all its might to save itself, usually collapsing into chaos and carnage. But as Harari argues, history has taken a different course since the collapse of the European empires—particularly since 1945 when the British Empire started falling apart as its colonies across the globe were liberated one by one — most of them without violence.

The current Ethiopian state has a blood-stained history down to its imperial roots. Its first constitution, written in 1931, boldly described it as an “Empire State”. Its territories and subjects were all “possessions of the emperor”. Ever since, Ethiopians across the board have waged bitter struggles — both political and military — to break the yoke of imperial oppression and transform the empire into a republic of and by the people. During all these times, Ethiopia has sustained the shocks of two major revolutions (1974 and 1991) and also a ‘peaceful internal political coup’ spurred on by powerful protests by Oromo Qeerroo that ultimately propelled Abiy to power in March 2018.

Now the question is, in light of Ethiopia’s past, and the failure of Abiy’s much anticipated “reformist” government to address the chronic contradictions of the historically imperialist Ethiopian state, will the forces struggling to keep Abiy in the the palace step aside peacefully in keeping with the precedent set by other post-1945 collapsing empires? Or, will the country descend into chaos and anarchy, as was the rule during the pre-1945 period?

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Main photo: Girma Gutema, center, with, to his left, Lidetu Ayalew, and Jawar Mohammed in the OMN studio.
Editors: Peter Heinlein, William Davison

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Published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Cite Ethiopia Insight and link to this page if republished. 

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About the author

Girma Gutema

Girma was the Executive Director of OMN-Finfinne before the Ethiopian government shut down its studio early last month. He tweets @Abbaacabsa

62 Comments

  • I already read the book called ‘Hijacked revolution ‘ most of narrated story are well known on many social medial, on my view those story or narrative are too amateurish to trust and most of his own generalization . Who is he ?

  • A great piece that would help anyone to have the real picture as to what is going on in the Ethiopian empire. Thank you!

  • Thank you Abbaa Cabsaa(Girmish). you have articulated in a short and brief manner. Don’t give time for such Neoneftegnas group trie to make you demoralize. we Oromos knew/know what is facts or not!! our destination is billisuma no matter what we have faced in difficulty at this time!! the new day has come. the bright day is not far!

  • Why do you neglect writing about the people who lost their property and the carniege in Oromia region? You are still sowing seeds of hatred among the two large ethnic groups in Ethiopia.This proves that extremists like you can’t lead their community. Ethiopia is not Syria.

  • It is shameful to come up with a very unrealistic information, 5 million Ormos killed by Minilik. Did he use Atomic bomb to kill this number of people? Please at least let us use our common sense.
    Don’t fool the people you say you are standing for it, by unfounded and imaginative hatful narrative.

    • Menilik killed more than 5 million in six years. To make you understand math, you may massacre 20-30 thousands a day and so on. Remember he also used biological weapon, chicken pox and so on supported by the British Empire. This is written by then living foreign scholars at the time.

  • Thank you Abbaa Cabsaa(Girmish). you have articulated in a short and brief manner. Don’t give time for such Neoneftegnas group trie to make you demoralize. we Oromos knew/know what is facts or not!! our destination is billisuma no matter what we have faced in difficulty at this time!! the new day has come. the bright day is not far!

  • I speak Amahric, Affan Oromo, and English fluently.
    Girma Gutema: If you think there are not enough affan Oromo broacasters in Finfine then go and establish one. Build listening base. No one is stopping you from doing that. Focus on that rather than complaining that most of the other broad casters are in Amharic. The success of Affan Oromo is not at the expense of Amharic or any other language. For Affan Oromo to flourish beyond Oromia you need to get more people to speak Affan Oromo as second language. Oromo nationalists need to broaden their world view and becomes inclusive of non-Oromos in order for this to succeed. Also we need more publications in Affan Oromo which today is lacking. Amharic due to various historical events is the first or second language of the majority of Ethiopipans. I hope Affan Oromo can achieve the same success in the next generation or two. But to do that Oromo politicians needs to be inclusive and think beyong their narrow ethnic power base. Indeed some of them are trying to do that now.

    Regarding your comment about Emperior Menelik: Your comments (which are based on thin and dubious evidence) show that you are a third-rate pseudo-intellectual. Menelik as ruler did many bad things. He also did a lot of good things. He is one of the giant African/Black leaders of the 19th century. Rather than complaining about what may or may not have happend over one hundred years ago how about looking forward and try to create a better society than we have today? Can you think along those lines? I hopoe you can before it is too late.

    Ibssa

    • Hello

      When you try to use the name ‘ibsaa’ , you have to learn how to spell it. From the way you spelled the name Ibsaa, one can understand that your claim that you speak Afaan Oromoo is false.

  • There are good reasons to worry about how Do Abey Ahimad will handle Ethiopia’s Ethnic federalism but there are also reasons to think he won’t be any worse … thank you Mr Grima Gutama

  • The young Tuktuk driver in Shashemene gets attacked because of Menelik. What has he got to do with Menelik? What is his privilege? Sick and sad! You are bringing hell on earth.
    This is like attacking a Swiss teenager because of Hitler.
    Wake up!!! This is real life and you are destroying the future of coming generations. You make this country an easy victim for external forces. For what? For greed and vanity of some elites using the naivity and bitterness of the poor.
    Do something useful. Help these people: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/08/13/yemen-houthis-kill-expel-ethiopian-migrants

  • You mention Europeans version of history whilst I agree terrible things happened remember Europeans also had their own agenda with regards to the continent during the same period, so they always plan to devide and rule and committed terrible genocide across the continent. The Scotish were in a union with the English and lead on the slave trade and attrocities handed out to Black People in the Americas now they complain about the English.

  • Whats sad is although the people of Orominiya have suffered so much, you don’t respect others like Black People from outside who suffered terrible slavery outside of the continent for 500 years. Some of whom are Oromo people sent east and sold on to the Americas. We supported Ethiopian people during Italian atrocities helped rebuild and ask for help to return back to Africa. Yes facilitated by a land grant by Haile Selassie 1st, to allow us to help Oromo people but by no means to colonize Oromo people, but to save ourselves from oppresion as Black Kush.
    He Haile selassie helped us and maybe you hate him but we can do so much good. The land was taken in from the Ethiopian World Federation Inc 1975 and taken over since 1994, with chaotic settlement of non members from outside land selling etc.
    The organization wants organized and accountable settlement and to support your families. We were founded to save the whole country and have a constitution, but you have terrorised our people and allowed bad people with money to come in and hurt your people.
    Your experience should allow you to show emphathy with people who have also suffered and still suffer at the hand of the whiteman.
    Selaam

  • So the Ethiopian Insight is condoning unlawful and immoral practices of a media house that have caused the death of many innocent people in Oromia. In the aftermath of Hachalu’s death, which media house was agitating the public to kill and annihilate “others” in a live transmission? So sad to have this article published!

  • Thanks!!!!!! Abbaa cabsaa.
    I’m so happy that you are not jailed.
    You write all the reality and it is very interesting. Also I’m very sad of what is going in Ethiopia. No matter this time will pass and we are waiting for a bright future.
    Thanks once again !!!!!

    • Amharic media outlets are also advocating the chauvinistic Neftegna supremacy. thus, it is not sin OMN to be a voice for the voice less oppressed nation and nationalities of the country.

  • Kudos to the writer for sheding some light on this timely and import issue. Those of us who are old enough and familiar with the long history of the Abyssinian empire and the history of subjugated communitied and ethnic groups knew and understood these nefarious plots by Abiy & co. was coming any time, but didn’t how fast and devastating would be.. I it watched few times but didn’t notice any particular bias in its news content and reporting. On the contrary, its seemed an slick and tech savvy news network. If Aibiy is closing ONM what about other ethic Amhara driven media outlets like the ESAT, Andafta and the likes? Surely they do air some unethical and all kinds of bias reporting too.

  • Kudos to the writer for sheding some light on this timely and import issue. Those of us who are old enough and familiar with the long history of the Abyssinian empire and the history of subjugated communitied and ethnic groups new understood these nefarious plots by Abiy & co. but didn’t how fast and devastating it would it would be.. I watched few times but didn’t notice any particular bias it’s news content and reporting. On the contrary, its seemed slick and tech savvy news network. If Aibiy is closing ONM what about other ethic Amhara driven media outlets like the ESAT, Andafta and the likes? Surely they do air some unethical and all kinds of bias reporting too.

  • How did a once hailed reformist emerge as an outright dictator? How did a well supported leader lose almost all of his base? Is it too late for Ethiopia as a single country? Questions the international community will ask years from today. By then it will be too late for Ethiopia.

    One of the best articles published this year! Kudos!

  • Executive Director of OMN, so he was the guy who edited out Hachalu’s criticism of OLF from his last interview.

    Enough said.

    • Nothing was edited. We heared the edited and unedited and fabricated by your puppets. No difference even the unedited shows who cares and love Hachalu.

  • The Author is so to naive say that OMN is closed because it is the only non Amharic voice. I don’t blame you write this because you are unemployed .
    In my opinion OMN was propaganda media for the the terrorist Kerroo and their ” ISIS affiliated leader Jawar S. Mohamed. You guys were showing innocent citizen being beheaded and lunched up side down .

  • This is a worrisome time in history where a dictator have betrayed all the stakeholders who made the change in 2018GC in the country. some jailed, others killed and the rest kicked out of the political landscape by this disastrous dictator. the solution is to remove this dictator by anymeans possible before the nation turns in to a total chaos.

  • It is astonishing that the author has not been arrested and faced justice. His media was spewing hate following the death of Hachalu and must be responsible for the ensuing ethnic cleansing in the Oromo tribal land.

  • OMN never been a lie. If they have a prove show to world with Afaan Oromo sound and English translation other wise please stop listening fake newspapers…

  • oromoon qabsoo godhuus amma gabrummaa filatuus tan dabartee caala hamtuun isaa amma kana tahu beekee jalaati buluu qofa.

  • I am really sorry to see such fabricated information written and disseminated globally to mislead people who are not familiar with this fact. The fact is, this media network is responsible for the mass murder and masccare of thousands of orthodox christian in Orimiya and Sidama region of Ethiopia in the last two years because of the false and provoking information transmitted from this source that Mr Girma has been working as a CEO.
    The article is full of flaws, morally injustice, and unethically compiled. Yes, Mr Girma is belongs to the Oromo people and he has full right to be the voice of his ethnic origin but should be in the way that he should respect and keep the diginity of humanity and others people out of his circle. The article focuses only why the office is closed in Addis Ababa as long as it is pioneer pvt TV media for the Oromo people. That’s not the essence of the truth because the same broadcasting from USA (OMN) is available on air all-over Ethiopia with its horrible, rotten, and fascistic transmission starting from the day that it is closed in Addis. Why it is closed? Because the media is fascistic by its in its nature,. Why I reject such unscientific written article 1. It is not inclusive. In Ethiopia, there are 86 ethnic groups. The article doesn’t cares for all these groups. 2. Not considerate and respectful to the other Ethiopians.
    3. Puts questions on scientific writing and information by creating delusions on people reading this article. 4. The writer is biased as long as he is working in that company, and belongs to the specified group. 5. Finally, he is still sharing this as a threats of violence, Insubordination, harassment, and insult to the Ethiopian government.
    God bless Ethiopia!

    • He stated a lot of conspiracies & factually dubious — you might even say outright lies — in regards to the country, the ethnicity, Haacaaluu’s murder etc and in the case of the so called “book” “The hijacked revolution” — a “book” that I read and can honestly say it’s full of lies, conspiracies, and hearsay from cover to cover — outright bullshitting and using conspriacy to prove his own conspiracy. But — IMO — the biggest error is in the premise…OMN-Finfinne wasn’t closed b/c it was the “only” non-Amharic TV station. It was close b/c of all the inflammatory and divisive rhetoric broadcasted right after the death of Haacaaluu (Ka’ii qerroo, Nafxxanyooni haa baasuu just to name a couple).
      Whilst he can argue that he himself — or the employees of OMN — didn’t actually say the things but rather broadcasted other peoples’ opinion that still does not give them the right to do so, especially after a heart breaking and outraging act such as that.
      Even now they agitating for closure of roads and shops from their station in the US and propagating the same thing Mr. Girma Gutema wrote above to muddy the waters and control the narrative.
      Granted OMN did some increadibly amazing things — spearheading the opposition against the previous gov’t, putting out info of murders and atrocities committed etc (all are listed above with the exception of one, b/c of OMN’s reporting the trial that was put on hold of the murderers of the late army chief was reinstated) but that still does not give them the right to inflammatory and divisive rhetoric broadcasted that sends people against people and leads to the mass murder we saw.

  • Thank you Girma Gutema. I read line by line and found that each word tells our story. I recently suggested that Ethiopia would be at peace only if the direction of migration changed. Your well articulated piece has confirmed that I was telling what would work by explaining the direction of flow of news and stories. Thank you bro.

    • Current Oromo media has nothing positive to contribute except to keep talking about the controversial narrative Menelik vs Oromo. He was a king of Shewa (along with Shewan Oromos) who took over Wellega and Arsi. Simple game of thrones.

      Yet OLF and TPLF translated the facts as Amhara king vs Oromos. Regardless, these medias need to look forward and stop obsessing over the past.

  • Continue with your nightmare narratives of the 16th Century in the 21st Century. Though you are living in the West your mind set still echoes the Eastern African junglemen of the 15th Century.
    Ad a learnt ignorant you are citing a piece of trash propaganda article paper ,so called “the hijacked revolution” as a ” source “to incriminate people to hide the real perpetrators.
    Any ways ,you don’t deserve for the position of a professional ED.Rather you shall stand behind a bar for genocide trial.

  • Continue with your nightmare narratives in the 21st century .Though you are living in the West yourmind set still echoes in 16th century of East African jungles.

  • Thank you Mr. Girma Gutema (Abbaa Cabsaa) for your detail explanation of our current politics and about shutdown of media outlets. You are a man of truth!

  • Wow!That is so eye opener and deep insights into the current political situation in Ethiopia.You clearly painted a clear picture of what is going on in Oromia and Southern Ethiopia.Thank you.

    • If this is biased see what your Aba Bahire, Tamire mariam and Bahiru Zewde wrote and used as teaching materials. The neftegna ancestors donot like the truth. They are blind to see and hear the reality.

  • I haven’t seen suicidal person like Abiy Ahmed in my lifetime. He betrayed all very important persons like Lemma Megersa who gave him his own opportunity of becoming Prime minister and Jawar Mohammed who played great role bringing this all change with Qeerroo. Without doubt his life span of leadership is too short.

  • girma, you wrote full of junke !!!those who live with inferiority say a lot.
    It is konw who kill hachalu!! it is an insult for his hachalu’s familIes and his admirer.

    Once again, leave menilik’s history for historian.
    I will say Game is ove for haters and narrowest like you and jawar

  • Wow! Girma Gutema,
    You didn’t say a word about the massacre 239 people and burning to the ground of Shashamane, that you your call carried out, which tantamount to genocide, particularly on selective ethnic non-Oromo groups and Orthodox Christians. It was your call that murdered Gamos in Burayu. It is you call that instigated the murder of 86 people when you master, Jawar cried he was surrounded. You think you will get away with that crime? OMN is a replica of Showing results for Rwandan Hutu radio that stirred conflict, This is 2020. You still live in barbaric era, never evolved from animal instict.
    You are similar to the Rwandan Huto radio that stirred conflict, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines. Your OMN is far from being alien star shining in the dark, but a racist radio that called all Oromos out after surreptitiously arranged the assassination of the Hachalu Hundessa. OMN is evil. It is should call itself Extrimist Omia Islalmic Radio!

    • We don’t care about them. They advocate neftegna supremacy which the days’ generation cannot tolerate. We need independent Oromia rather. It is enough to live with Neftegna and its ancestors.

  • How did a once hailed reformist emerge as an outright dictator in such short time? How did he lose almost all of his base? Will he be the end of Ethiopia as a single country? His actions direct in that way.

    One of the best articles published this year!!! Well done!!!

  • Yes here are some of the truth the Oromo Nation are denied by their enemy today! These all are happend within one night! It was sponsored and organized by The Govt of Abiy Ahmed to full fill his months before plans saying “i will break up the Oromos Power for thousand years so that they not regain any political position if they not support all my political view”!these what we are practicing and experiencing today. The guy must go! @Abbaa Cabsaa may God be with you!

  • No doubt the shutting down of OMN is a repressive move and doesn’t bode well for press freedom in Ethiopia. State media as always acts as a mouthpiece for the government’s agenda, and there are few reliable independent voices as alternatives.
    Although OMN has every right to propagate its views and agendas, it would be more constructive to frame the existing situation based on a pragmatic understanding of the Ethiopian state. Framing the problems that exist in this country under the Imperialist rubric serves only one purpose and one ideology that of the ethno-natonalist. Hence, under this view it becomes necescary to talk about an “imperial march from north to south” “linguistic genocide” and what does “non-Amharic” imply? That any news transmitted in Amharic is by default imperialist? To further propel the ethno-nationalist cause it also becomes necessary to utilize poor historical scholarship. The settler colonial theory which forms the basis of the author’s historical narrative is in fact a eurocentric reading and bears little relation to facts. The extraordinary figures cited about genocides regarding the Oromo are but one example (the whole population of Ethiopia at the time did not exceed 5.5 million), Bulatovich’s numbers cannot withstand sustained critique.
    But this is not to say there was no bloodshed, there was a lot of it. The establishment of the modern state of Ethiopia was based on violence, suppression and all sorts of brutality. No rational person would consider Menelik (or the rulers that came before and after him) as legitimate. However, time and various people’s struggles have allowed us to witness the end of the monarchy and the feudal system – these are not coming back.
    Again, this is not to say all grievances have been addressed but instead of talking about an improbable linguistic genocide, why not stress for the adoption of Oromiffa as a working language (which is a rightful and more probable prospect) and the recognition of Oromo cultural holidays. There are a myriad of other grievances (such as land grab of Oromo farmers) which have to be dealt with. All of these struggles can be done non-violently, and within the existing state structure. These are basic human rights struggles that do not need a fabrication of a concocted historical narrative and an imperial elite pulling all the strings – to convince the masses.
    The polar opposite of the ethno-nationalist is the nationalist extremist who also relies on a fabricated historical narrative and conjuring of enemies.
    Whether we like it or not this is the attitude of extremes on both ends that fuels conflict. When the passing of Hundessa should have been a solemn event that nonetheless could have united people opposed to such a crime, it instead became a trigger for the deaths of hundreds and the displacement of thousands. The crackdown that followed is a concern and the closure of OMN is one manifestation.
    Regardless of our differences we have to seek a common ground and find ways to coexist for our troubles are far too many.

  • Thank You Mr Girma Gutema for uncovering these all truths.

    It is very sad that Abiy Ahmed is not 70 or 80 but 100% a dictator.

    He jailed all of the political parties in one or other ways.

    I worry for you that he may add (meddemer) you with Jawar…and with the rest

    Cabaan caba rarraafatee badaan nama galaafate.

  • I wish this narrative is published before the detention of the Oromo’s activisits. I don’t understand why such narration comes out when the narrators are offended while not on the other way?

  • OMN was a media house helped usher change in Ethiopia but it orchestrated violence and hate. The writer of this article, being the executive director, fails to take responsibility for the radicalization, extremism and violence propagated through OMN. The chief excutive hides the fact that OMN was given warnings from national broadcasting authorities. Moreover OMN part of the police investigation as it is accused for its alleged role in the plot around the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa. Worldwide there are 20000 signed this petition to get OMN banned. https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/banOMN. Probably many initiatives coming. It is now time for OMN leadership to sit down to evaluate itself, correct and clean/clear itself from fanaticism and radicalization in the name of freedom and political rights that could endanger lives as it breeds violence. Furthermore OMN must first be held for the damages brought up on our country and society. Terror and violence har no where to hide.

  • Dear writer,

    It is obvious that your previous position within OMN and current status as the accused by the government provides you very little incentive to be impartial to the facts. Nevertheless, it is good to read your perspective. However, your article would have benefitted a great deal if you were bold enough to acknowledge your mistakes as a media institution that obviously wasn’t impartial nor always professional. In doing so, it would have been possible to hold the government accountable for it’s actions. It is my hope that we will start seeing professionalism and better presentation of facts even when they don’t accommodate your political views as an individual and/or institution as OMN. Thank you and we all are looking forward to the unfolding court cases to better understand the facts on the ground.

    Stay safe in the age of COVID-19.

    • Convinced your target audience …first free yourself from TPLF’s phobic disorder…OMN afan oromo mouthpiece of TPLF, period. Getachew in DW sets strategies and some words like ‘neftegna, Ahadawi…fool politicians like you play the words for two decades.

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