The government of Ethiopia has accused UK’s Telegraph of ‘completely twisting facts and agenda-based reporting’ which involves inaccurately translating Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s speech.In the article titled “Ethiopian PM threatens to stop food aid entering the country” posted on October 18, Telegraph’s Will Brown blatantly misquoted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and misinformed its readers regarding events in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Ministry Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
The aim is “to bolster a preordained narrative in which Ethiopia must be vilified. At the same time, insurgents of the TPLF are spared criticism, if not outright praised”, it added.
Delivered in Amharic, Prime Minister Abiy expressed his desire to see “Ethiopia become food self-sufficient and less dependent on food aid coming from abroad a noble goal widely shared among the Ethiopian public”.
Telegraph’s report, however, translated the statement as “if we make sure that this thing called wheat [food aid] does not enter Ethiopia, 70 percent of Ethiopia’s problems will be solved”.
The letter advised the national British daily broadsheet newspaper to “reassess its assumptions of what the Prime Minister said or did not say.”
“If translating Amharic into English is particularly challenging, they should seek help before becoming a disservice to their readers, who deserve to know that facts,” it said.
The article is viewed by some as part of serious misinformation pushed by the western media against the Abiy administration since the start of the conflict in north Ethiopia almost a year ago.
This one, however, goes beyond taking things out of context or misinterpreting the Prime Minister’s words, the ministry said.
“This is an unscrupulous disregard for what was said and a complete twisting of the facts for agenda-based reporting,” it added.
“For the sake of journalism and factual reporting, the Telegraph should reevaluate this report for its merit and ask if it meets journalistic standards” it concluded.