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Media implicated in violence following Hachalu’s death

Media implicated in violence following Hachalu’s death

In one of the most polarizing events in the country’s politics, three media outlets have been implicated in fueling the conflicts that followed the killing of the renowned Oromo musician and political activist, Hachalu Hundessa. The government said that it has been monitoring these media outlets for long.

In a press announcement given only to the state media outlets, Fekadu Tsega, the director for organized and cross-boundary crimes with the Federal Attorney General, indicated that the Oromo Media Network (OMN), Asrat TV and Dimtsi Woyane TV studios in Addis Ababa were raided and documents seized. The stations stopped airing programs from Addis since Tuesday June 30, 2020. OMN was giving a live coverage of the transportation of Hachalu’s body from St. Paul’s Hospital to his place of birth in Ambo. The coverage by OMN was also shared by the aforementioned media.

Hachalu, one of the outspoken artistes of the Oromo language, was shot dead around Gelan condominium, in the outskirts of Addis Ababa.

Consequently, the government blamed the killing as well as the following protests that claimed multiple lives on the Tigryan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Shene.

Fekadu in his statement added that there have been hate speeches and polarizing messages coming out of these media outlets. The government based its measures on these programs, he added.

According to the director, following the killing of Hachalu, the said media were broadcasting violence instigating messages to motivate people get to the streets and attack people labeled “the others” and their properties.

Because of the violence that followed the killing, eight civilians and two policemen have been killed in Addis Ababa while 250 vehicles were damaged and 20 burnt down, according to a report from Addis Ababa Police Commission. About 80 civilian and police officers have died in Oromia region.

In a reply he gave to the blaming from the head of the Oromia Regional State that TPLF has created chaos to hinder the transportation of Hachalu’s body to his birth place, executive committee member of the TPLF, Getachew Reda said that this is a common pattern by the government to blame its failures on people because of its incompetence to lead the country. In his short interview with Tigray TV, Getachew said that the government was unable to bring to justice people that committed crimes in the country including the killings of the Amhara regional officials and the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force a year ago.

Getachew is of the view that the trend that is being seen in the country, especially blame games on third parties is intended only on preserving the power of the current administration for the longest possible time.

While the investigation on the media and the media outlets implicated in the case is ongoing, the Attorney General indicated that charges will be instituted based on the evidence collected from the raid to the media houses.