Media Review: Mr Bekele Gerba’s Interview by Simeneh Bayfers of Walta Media
First, you may like to read our lead article for launching the Media Review: The Five Principles of Ethical Journalism and Ethiopia’s News Media.
The following video, which documents an interview of Mr Bekele Gerba by Mr Simeneh Bayfers of Walta Media (Part 2 of an interview) is the most cringe-inducing one on many fronts. The topic of the interview for most part is on the proposed use of Afan Oromo as a national working language. This of course is one of the top political issues of the day, and therefore deserves deep understanding, not only the historical facts surrounding this issue, but regardless the will and the right of Oromo people as to whether Afan Oromo should be elevated as a working language. It is just a huge topic of national discourse for the country.
You won’t get a prize for guessing that Mr Simeneh Bayfers is conducting the interview with a degree of bias, but no, there are no words to describe the one-sided blatant bias that reduces the national discourse to a trivia. To his credit, Mr Simeneh Bayfers looks courteous and smooth talking, but the apparent courtesy and smooth-talk is only matched by the gross incompetence in exploring facts and educating the people through his profession. Don’t take my word, just watch the video carefully.
A few minutes into the interview you’ll clearly note that Simeneh is approaching the interview with one simple motive: to counter Bekele Gerba’s argument for Afan Oromo’ proposal as a national working language, rather than explore the facts, say eliciting the pros and cons. Here are some of the snippets where journalistic questions descend into farcical trivia:
Simeneh, in his own way, tries to challenge Bekele Gerba by posing a question: “… if your salary is paid in Amharic…” — even such a sentence makes no sense — ” … would you not accept it?”. Later on he says along the same lines to the effect: ” … why not use a translator for your driver?”, and what makes this question so ridiculous is that Bekele Gerba never argued to give up on the languages he speaks, and he actually goes on further to say how good it is to speak many languages.
Simeneh is simply laser-focused on [tacitly] defending the Amhara language, but needless to say this is just the wrong way to do it, because it is counter-productive, and audience clearly see for what it is. He even went on further to argue that, the USA is using the English language, the logic here being a language adopted from a far land, England, but the argument loses its logic for there are no nations in USA demanding the right to use their language, like the Oromo people do in Ethiopia, a classic example of a false equivalency. These snippets are not even spoilers for you; you’ll in fact find numerous lines of questions that are simply jaw-dropping. Watch the video in its entirety and judge for yourself!
Mr Bekele Gerba, you will get our 10/10 mark for your composure and perseverance.