THE DEATH OF JOURNALISM - A Response to Fifth Estate CBC Program – Feb 12, 2016

From: Araia G. Ephrem <>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2016 09:19:17 +0000 (UTC)

AResponse to Fifth Estate CBC Program – Feb 12, 2016
DearMark Kelly & Fifth Estate,

I watched The Fifth Estate presentation titled "Dealing with aDictator" aired on February 12, 2016. Obviously, you are a new add toFifth Estate and it shows you have a lot of learning ahead of you.

I am writing my observation to you and “Fifth Estate” who produced the piece. Iwill not try to defend Eritrea, because Eritrea's formidable track records areintact and doesn’t need any defense. Do you know why? Because Eritrea staunchlyand adamantly stays off the "Food Aid" and follows"self-reliance" as a principle of pragmatic governance.

I will not try to defend NEVSUN either, because NEVSUN has marked its integritysince the Eritreans came to know it as a law abiding and clean company. Andthat is what matters. None of "Fifth State" mediocre reportage wouldlower its integrity and status.

However, I was very saddened to see your reportage had no journalist aptitude.Because, to document such a piece requires of you to find all the facts dotedand lined up. Rather, your reportage appears to have an intent of smearingnoble standings; both Eritrea's and NEVSUN's. The reportage sounded like asmear campaign on either Eritrea as a nation or NEVSUN as a successful company.Or perhaps you got the assignment in a rush and you didn’t have the time northe depth to research facts that could have saved from what you insinuate inyou documentary.

Dear Mark,Do you know Eritrea very well? Or did you watch itfrom across the Hill of refugee camps in Ethiopia and speculated? The reason Iask is your reporting sounded very outdated and full of unmanaged rhetoric.

You seem surprised when you learnt Eritrea has a 40% share in Bisha gold mine.You actually pressed a question whether the deal was a "take or leaveit" making you sound insinuate that NEVSUN accepted the deal under duress.You called the business deal "a shot gun Marriage?" Obviously youseem to have no capacity or outlook or imagination that an African country[Eritrea] forging equal partnership with foreign companies.

Doesn't that make you sound ill trained in gathering facts? Is it not a typicalstereotyping? Ignorance to be exact.

For your information, Eritrea's policy is for equal partnership since itsindependence. Actually it dates back to the struggle days as well. However, youdidn't know that Eritrea says "No" to master-slave relations, andstands tall against any kind of exploitation. Obviously you didn't know Eritreadoesn't accept "foreign food aid" except development aid aimed atequal partnership.

If that is dictatorship, I would like to see more dictatorships as such!

Also did you know that Women in Eritrea get equal pay as their men counterpart?Of course, you may not be able to fathom that fact because you are used towomen getting less pay than men for the same job in the Western developedcountries.

Amazingly, you didn't seem to have read the UN reports on Millennium DevelopmentGoals 2015. Had you read a little, you could have understood Eritrea is one ofthe few countries that finished ahead of time. Therefore, you could haveimagined where Eritrea puts its hard earned mining income. Eritrea puts all itsmoney towards developing its human capacity and infrastructure.

Also, you did not know the UN couldn't produce a shred of evidence that Eritreasupported Al Shabab. Or did you only have the words of Abdinur Soyan; theSomali gun man whom you met in Nairobi, Kenya? You probably didn’t know yourguest Canadian Matt Brydon (former Chief of Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group)was fired from a UN post for his unprofessionalism and biased activities. MattBryden was sitting across your table. You could have asked him why he got firedas well. You may have learnt from his misgivings that could have helped you avoidyours as well.

Did you know that even former US ambassador Herman Cohen articulated Eritrea'sinvolvement with Al Shabab doesn't hold water?

Did you know the Russian UN ambassador told reporters that his governmentcouldn't find evidence of Eritrea's support to Al Shabab? You may also learnthe South African diplomat also aired his concerns in similar fashion. Thepoint is what you were hammering during your show was a callous and unlearnthear-say that shies away from true journalism.

Did you know the Canadian government hosts Eritrean consulate in Ottawa? And whydo you think the Canadian government stays in diplomatic terms with Eritrea ifyour forceful theory and ill informed allegation of Eritrea's support to AlShabab were true?

However, to my surprise you constantly tried to put Al Shabab footages next toEritrea’s. Even you’re your guest Todd Romaine of NEVSUNkept saying positive results about his experience, you kept switching gears tohammer the “dictator” card. Does that make you a fact finder journalist or a persondriven with a skewed agenda?

Did you know 14 UN council members voted to lift the illegal sanctions imposedon Eritrea, with the exception of the USA, simply because the USA has a vetopower?

When you reported about Eritrea's youth migrations, did you realize thatpresident Obama openly stated that his government had worked with manyorganizations to free women and children from the jaws of the brutal Eritreangovernment? Now, mind you! "Women and children" is emphasized heavilyin president Obama's speech. Is that a surprise then the youth would fleeEritrea for any reason other than politics up on president Obama'sencouragement? Shouldn't your documentary start with president Obama and theorganizations he praised to encourage the migration of Eritrea's youth?

Did you know Eritrea and Eritreans have stormed the worst of psychologicalwarfare since day one and triumphed in all aspects of their plans and worldactivities?

Let me share some background of what had been tried before.

Watching your program, it reminded me of two names that came to pass during thehigh seasons of Psychological Warfare against the State of Eritrea. The firstname was Mr. Lloyd Axworthy; Canada's politician, statesman and academic whomat one point was a Foreign Minister. Mr. Axworthy vowed that he would uncorkopen the Eritreans and push them to some sort of forced diplomacy. Do you knowwhat the Eritreans did? They chuckled, and let Mr. Axworthy huff-puff with allhis might. Well, Mr. Axworthy despite his strong skills and aggressivecapabilities to uncork open nations, he miserably failed when it came toEritrea.

The second name is, Ms Sheila B. Keetharuth. who is appointed as a specialRapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Ms. Keetharuth appearedin front of the UN and presented a very hefty document. When Ms. Keetharuth waschallenged though, she admitted the reports were written up on her brief visitsto Ethiopia and Djibouti refugee camps. Little did she know the EritreanDiaspora was ready to challenge her findings in New York. Actually, she shiedaway from talking to the Eritrean Diaspora (who have a wealth of information toshare) and went straight to those who fed her bed time stories.

Did you consider asking the Belgian, Hungarian, Norwegian fact-finding teamsand journalists and find out what they gathered about the migration issues ofEritreans and Human Rights conditions in Eritrea?

Perhaps the news of 4 Swiss politicians visit to Eritrea also escaped you and“Fifth Estate”? The Swiss politicians reported that “Eritrea is not Hell.”

Did you come across the Belgian film maker Michel Collen's documentary? Perhapsyou should watch the linked video titled “Come& See” that brings you and Fifth Estate on the plate.Do you realize you were only standing on top hills of Tigray, Ethiopia? Younever witnessed firsthand of all the smudges you smeared you on Eritrea andNEVSUN. Because, your reportage comes as a hear-say just like that of Ms.Keetharuth's.

You produced witnesses that can’t show their faces and you couldn’t revealtheir names. To make matters worse you also stated that you were not able tocorroborate their stories. The trip you took must have been ugly enough toforce you gather whatever you found and patch up a story.

The reason I brought the above examples is that, your documentary is in thenature of that of Ms. Keetharuth's. So does it matter whether you were grantedaccess to visit Eritrea? You already had started your campaign a one way streettowards doom.

Dear Mark,
Since 1998 Eritreans have seen politicians and reporters get embarrassed afterthe facts. Few names for your enlightenment are; Herman Cohen, Anthony Lake,Jendai Fraser, Susan Rice, Llyod Axworthy, Michael Bolton, Dan Connell, MartinPlaut, Matt McClearn, Alex Last, Michela Wrong, Léonard Vincent ...etc. Now ifyou research what these names mean in regards to their handling of Eritrean facts,your name and/or "Fifth Estate" program adds to the list.

Actually, you seem to discourage Canadian companies competing in Eritreanmarket and mining. As we speak there are 26+ major international companiesinvesting in Eritrea. Did you mean all the international companies operating inEritrea in equal partnership get “shot gun marriages”?
Having watched your reportage, I was saddened to witness the "death ofjournalism." Most importantly, I felt very strongly for the Canadian taxpayers who watch your unfounded, ill trained, skewed, harassing and immaturereportage.

Hence the title of this post; "OBITUARY: THE DEATH OF JOURNALISM."And, truly journalism has died at your hands.

Araia G. Ephrem

Received on Sun Feb 14 2016 - 04:19:19 EST

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