Jun 29, 2018

Oromo: Return of Media Activist Brings Hope to Minorities in Ethiopia

As Jawar Mohammed, a US-based Oromo activist and owner of the Oromo Media Network (OMN), is expected to return to Ethiopia, the possibility of a de-escalation in the tense relationship between the Oromo community and the government of the Eastern African country becomes a reality. The announcement that OMN would be allowed to resume its activities in Ethiopia is the result of the reforms implemented by the new Ethiopian executive, aiming at advancing the pacification of Ethiopia. After the conflict between the Oromo people and the Ethiopian government had come to a head in 2014, Addis Ababa had imposed severe restrictions on fundamental liberties of the members of this community, accusing social leaders of terrorism and forcing many of them to go into exile.

The article below was published by africanews.com:

US-based Oromo Media Network (OMN), which was banned for inciting violence and promoting terrorism, has opened an office in Ethiopia, the privately owned Addis Standard website reports.

The development follows the weekend announcement by Ethiopia’s government that 264 media outlets including websites, bloggers and TV channels, OMNinclusive, would have their access restored in line with ongoing reforms.

“Oromo Media Network, which was facing terrorism charges until recently, has inaugurated its office in #AddisAbaba today,” tweeted Addis Standard.

Minnesota-based OMN was banned in Ethiopia in February 2017 after the government said it belonged to “terrorist” organisations, but the ban was lifted last month as part of reforms being undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

In May, Ethiopia’s attorney general dropped charges against OMN, and its executive director, Jawar Mohammed.

Addis Standard also reported that following the inauguration of the OMN office in Ethiopia, its director, who is also a prominent Oromo activist, would be travelling back to Ethiopia on August 06, 2018.

Several other critics of the previous administration including opposition politicians have announced intentions to return home, saying they are encouraged by ongoing reforms championed by the new prime minister.

Picture courtesy of flickr.com