Addis Ababa University’s School of journalism against journalists?

There is barely any example found in the world that a school of journalism to take side against journalists and make them look awful and destructive in their attempt to seek excellence in journalism.

What an outrageous option did the dean of the School of Journalism- Addis Ababa University have opted at critical junctures that a “good” appearance of the School of Journalism, well at least for donors as the school was at first initiated with a huge pump of money from Swedish neighbors –Norwegians.

In his interview you can read it here .Amharic version with the state owned Amharic daily Addis Zemen; the Dean of the School of Journalism converted the “good “image of the school of journalism into a destructive and sinister outlook! This is so menacing at least for existing students because the school still heavily relays on expatriate voluntary teachers from all over the world

The Dean took a swipe at two Swedish journalists who are currently serving their 11 year sentence in prison. He censured them in a blatantly one-sided fashion on inside page rather than the front. He said that “the Swedish journalists were caught in a region where there is no fuss ,media spotlight or whatsoever and their trial has nothing to do with freedom of speech and freedom of expression … are all things we have been hearing on global media is rubbish ” Translated from Amharic . This seems a bit extreme for a school of journalism which prides itself as progressive with a high standard of academic freedom.

Never mind, because the dean of the school went further, arguing that “if our government had filed a complaint for an international court, urging an investigation into the actions of these two Swedish journalists and their employer media ,both would have been fined seriously” Do not ever dare to laugh to yourself because this is not a comic story.

“This country has law and order and they could have lodged their request through legal method” said the dean. At times that may well be true. But hang on – didn’t the dean know about investigative journalism. The dean’s remark seems to imply that these journalists never attempt to get information in an appropriate way. He seems to rush for the conclusion that the journalists committed egregious breaches of Ethiopia’s laws.
Just one final point no doubt there is more freedom in higher education than elsewhere, but there is no prospect of journalism departments in Ethiopia’s Universities turning into vibrant training centre for our future journalists with such kind of bashing sentiment for journalists.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. As a graduate of a journalism program, this is a shame. I wonder what the AAU J school will have to say when the 2 Swedish journalists eventually become free, which seems like a very near possibility. You might be interested in this article about Ethiopia’s adoption of a development media model, here is the link: http://mediehogskolen.academia.edu/TerjeSkjerdal/Papers/827209/Development_journalism_revived_The_case_of_Ethiopia.

  2. I have also read this article. The dean was not able to identify the difference between journalisitc ETHICS and Law. Throughout his interview he was giving prejudgement and one would wonder what these guys would be teaching at the JSchool. It seems as though the dean lacks the basics of JOURNALISM!!!!!! After all it all ends like this if one doesn’t have a training, a diploma or whatever in the profession AT FIRST! WE NEED TO LEARN BEFORE WE TEACH!

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