In a world where the slogan “fake news” is shouted loudly and frequently without any evidence or critical analysis, independent presentation of the truth has become a rare and precious commodity –one that is hard to come by in countries such as Eritrea. So, it is no surprise to find the regime in Asmara engaged in denying and falsifying truth and attacking honest news reporting.
Every UN report has confirmed that there is no independent media in Eritrea. Broadcasting and newspapers are totally controlled by the government. Since 2001, all independent news services have been closed down or taken over by the government, and hundreds of journalists arrested and imprisoned without trial. So, within Eritrea it has been impossible to hear or receive anything other than pro-government biased news and propaganda.
Tweets on the matter by Eritrea’s information Minster, Mr. Yemane Gebremeskel:
Since the Eritrean authorities control every word broadcast and printed in their country, they assume that the British Government controls everything broadcast by the BBC, for they have no concept of an independent broadcaster. We should then not be surprised that this month the British Ambassador in Eritrea is being summoned to be berated for what the Eritrean authorities term “The Editor’s Inflammatory Comments” expressed on The BBC Tigrinya Service (broadcast from Kenya to Eritrea), which, when it tells the truth, hugely annoys the Eritrean authorities. The Eritrean government even expects “adjustments and changes to the BBC Tigrinya Service editorial line”—as if Westminster could dictate exactly what an independent broadcaster can put on air. They will be badly disappointed.
Yet, despite Government control of all Eritrean media, there are still brave Eritreans who have continued to get news of the truth into this closed country. Radio Erena, based in Paris, has been a source of independent news and unbiased truth for all within Eritrea by means of its satellite broadcasting via BADR satellite. But, in September and again in November 2016, its broadcasts have been jammed, so that they cannot reach Eritrea. Geolocation indicates that the pirate transmission jamming the signal originated from within Eritrea. And Radio Erena’s website has suffered a cyber-attack. There can be no doubt of the purpose and power behind this silencing of free radio: the very same Eritrean regime which does not want the truth to be told, whether by the BBC or by Eritreans who have escaped the clutches of their own repressive government.
But the truth has been told –by the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, and by the UN Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in Eritrea. And these truths cannot be imprisoned tortured or changed. The truth about the actions of the illegal regime in Eritrea continues to be told, will continue to be told, and, however long it takes, the ultimate promise to the courageous Eritrean people is “The Truth Will Set You Free”.
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
17 January 2019