Ethiopia’s state of emergency dramatically reduces access to information about the Oromo population from within the country, where independent journalists and bloggers have been silenced for weeks.
From outside Ethiopia, however, Oromo journalists and activists continue to provide news of what’s happening behind the veil of tightly controlled state media. Among them is Jawar Mohammed, the executive director of the Oromo Media Network (OMN) based in the United States.
“The government of Ethiopia continues to suppress freedom of expression and speech. It has shut down all independent newspapers in Oromo language and those tending to address unique concerns of the Oromo people,” his network explains.
“As a result, despite being the official language of the Oromia region, not a single independent newspaper is published in Afaan Oromo. Neither are there independently run radio or television stations broadcasting in one of Africa’s most widely spoken languages with over 40 million native speakers.”
With more than a million Facebook followers and 33,000 on Twitter, Mohammed and the OMN stay connected with people and events affecting the Oromo – even if it is difficult for Ethiopians to dial in, or to get official confirmations from Ethiopian authorities.
Summaries of the relaunched, full-length OMN news broadcasts are translated into English, including the latest updates on Oromo who have been arrested or public facilities that have been shut down.
For more information about OMN’s eight programs and its editorial policies, see this link.