The Western Medias and Community mistake on Ethiopia
The Atlantic Community mistake on Ethiopia: counter-productive statements and data-poor policies of the EU and the USA on the Tigray conflict
Global media discussion and policy responses to the armed conflict in Tigray Region, Ethiopia, that started on 3–4 November 2020 by the TPLF party-led Tigray Regional government, are often marked by bias, incompleteness, lack of context understanding, credulity and an anti-federal government attitude. While the conflict unfolded, leading to defeat of the TPLF forces on 28 November 2020 with the taking over of the regional capital Meqele and the flight of the TPLF leadership, many leading Western media and news websites focused on the aftermath and the effects of the fighting in Tigray Region and its population, easily shifting sympathy towards the perceived ‘underdog’ (TPLF). This was followed by often hastily written statements by foreign policy makers in EU, USA and UN circles, leading to an emerging policy narrative whereby essential details of the context, the nature of the adversaries, the reasons of the conflict were sidelined.
On the basis of a number of telling examples, this Working Paper by Jon Abbink describes the above process, analyses the emerging media and Atlantic discourse and some of its assumptions. It thereby pleads for a more balanced, critical approach to the incomplete reporting and misinformation from questionable sources so as to contribute to the media and Atlantic policy makers developing a more adequate and responsible approach.
Read the full text (2nd edition, résumé en français compris).
This paper has been published as ASC Working Paper 150, 2021.
Photo: Tigray, Ethiopia. Photo by Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0
Author(s) / editor(s)
About the author(s) / editor(s)
Prof. Jon Abbink is an anthropologist-historian and carries out research on the history and cultures of the Horn of Africa (Northeast Africa), particularly Ethiopia.