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Iconic Selamta magazine stops publication for good

Iconic Selamta magazine stops publication for good

Selamta, the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines, stopped its publication for good.

Ashenafi Zeray, Head of Public Relations and Corporate Communication with Africa’s most successful airline, confirmed the end of the publication of the famous magazine, but said it would instead be going digital.

The magazine that came into existence in the 1980s saw its final publication in March 2020.

First started in part by the iconic photographer Mohammed Amin, who died on a hijacked Ethiopian plane in Comoros Island, and British journalists Graham Hancock and Duncan Willetts, Selamta was a popular high quality magazine that set the standard for Ethiopian publications.

Camerapix, which was owned by Mohammed Amin, was the publisher of the magazine.

Since 2011, however, the airline gave the responsibility of publishing the magazine to a company owned by local entrepreneur Azaria Mengistu, who sublet the task to an American publishing house. However, the relationship was severed in 2018.

That same year, the airline inked a deal with inkglobal, an experienced London based publishing house, to help re-launch the magazine with newer fonts and reduced size. It was also said to have produced podcasts and add features by adding international writers. That lasted just over a year.

A former reader The Reporter spoke to indicated that since the end of its partnership with Camerapix, the magazine was highly criticized by travelers and observers for featuring non-Ethiopian writers and exclusively using foreign writers with little connection to Ethiopia while claiming to be a pan-African airline.

Salim Amin, the son of Mohamed Amin, said he is “sad” to see the magazine cease its existence.

“Camerapix produced numerous other publications and films for Ethiopian Airlines over the years. If the airline has permanently stopped the publication of Selamta, then it definitely marks the end of an era … it was a wonderful showcase for Ethiopia’s history, people and culture, and was often the only content that Ethiopians in the diaspora could get about their country,” he told The Reporter.

The Reporter looked at the digital presence of Selamta, including its website which has not been updated since last year and its engagement on Twitter via its unverified account of just over 11,000. IG, its digital presence, has also waned to a minimal at best.

“I know so many Ethiopians that collected all the issues of Selamta and passed them onto their children and grand-children. Very sad to hear that it will no longer be published,” Salim said. 

The Reporter’s attempts to get further comments on the matter from the Advertising department, whom Ashenafi indicated could provide more info, did not bear fruit.

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