CNN’s Citizen Journalism, iReport goes wrong with false report on mass protests in Southern Ethiopia

Why does this happen? Why is it that as a people are trying to dismiss the half truths reporting of government media such as ETV, they themselves make an outright lie? Why is that we have such difficulties in dealing with truth?

I am asking these questions as CNN’s thrust into online citizen- journalism miscarry last Monday when the CNN’s iReport.com posted what turned out to be actually fake report claiming that in a similar manner and scale to the Northern African revolutionary protests, a mass protest and civil disobedience has swept the Southern Ethiopian towns of Gamu Gofa and its vicinities since Monday 7 March 2011.

As I am in Arba Minch, people who come to know this story by chance has been nagging me if there is such uprising in Arba Minch. For my shock some of my facebook friends do not want to believe me even after I have confirmed them that the story posted on CNN’s iReport.com is a bogus story.

For me this event underscores the need for Ethiopians to behave rightly with their genuine identity. On top of that big news organizations such as CNN must try to verify content generated by users before it is published. As it has been said many times citizen journalism is very powerful influence when harnessed the right way, but sometimes it goes awry as it clearly did in this case. I consider this incident is an attempt to abuse the beauty of citizen journalism.

I remember in the not-so-long past that we did not have such kind of citizen journalism media and we could not report on rural community activities. And it is good to have citizen journalist including the one who lied on CNN iReport but the problem is the same citizen journalist who is accusing ETV and other government media proposing himself as another alternative media to silence the government media propaganda. This is hypocrisy. On top of this I do not want another ETV as I am tired of it already. If ESAT had already reported these crap fabrications of mass protest what difference it has with ETV.

CNN describes iReport as a place for “unedited, unfiltered news” and said it “makes no guarantee about the content or coverage.’ But who does have such uplifted media literacy to understand this crap and leave it. This is a stupid approach to ignite revolution. It benefits nobody but those hiding something. What do you think?

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