The Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT) that has made a belated return to Ethiopia is set to launch a mega fundraiser in February 16,2019 at the Millennium hall and inaugurate what it said will bea state-of-the-art studio in the capital.
Founded eight years ago, as an alternative source of information foraudiences based in Ethiopia and abroad from its headquarters in DC and satellite offices in the Netherlands, and theUK, and while acknowledging the changing landscape of the nation;the management of ESATis adamant such an outlet is needed in Ethiopia.
“ESAT is more important than ever,” MetasebiaQetsela, one of theTV personalitieson ESAT, told The Reporter. “We do not just focus on the plight of Ethiopians at home. We were there when we needed to highlight what needs to be covered in Lebanon with Ethiopian maids that are facing issues of rights and safety. That is the importance of ESAT, at home and abroad, where ever Ethiopians are.”
A popular satellite TV station, ESAT was once a wedge topic within Ethiopia, as it was banned by the government as a way to suppress protest and unrest that engulfed the nation. However, it became a popular outlet for the voices of descent via satellite dishes that did not need the use of internet. The government was said to have spent scarce resources to jam the station, while the latter was forced to change satellite positions to continue its broadcast.
Since the start of the era of PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD), it has been allowed to open-up shop within the capital and report freely. It is now planning to start satellite offices across the nation and become a national institution that is not just concentrated in Addis Ababa.
“We are owned by the people of Ethiopia. While we can freely operate within a society that once banned us and once made us illegal.We cannot fold our hands and assume our job is done based on recent developments,” said Saba Ataro (Eng.), the Executive Director of ESAT in Ethiopia. “There are many arenas where we remain the ears-and-eyes of the people and some reforms we have been advocating for long has been realized, but there are many that are in the pipeline and that is why ESAT remains an important avenue to advocate for more and be the needed voice.”
Ethiopia was known to ban and censor certain websites, blogs and such satellite dishes,and imprisoning and exiling journalists.However, this year, was declared as a nation that has no prisoners for the first time by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“We found ESAT eight years ago, on appeal from our fellow Ethiopians. We were needed then as an important voice that helped change the narrative of the current Ethiopia. ESAT was a movement that was needed but now Ethiopia has embraced an inclusive society.Our movement has not ended, it has just begun,” GirumYilma, Chief Operating Officer of ESAT International, added.