Two years ago, in its Vol. I Issue no 2 edition in March 2011, Addis Standard published a story on what has then become an unsettling trend of religious tension between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia; a month later in its April 2011 edition, it published an editorial calling for a cautious handling of neglected facts, such as over population, affecting the world’s longest river, the Nile; eight months later in its Vol. I Issue No. 9 edition in Nov. 2011, it published a story on the new dynamics of violence against women in Ethiopia.
This month we decided to re-publish these three stories as part of our 2nd year anniversary. The decision to re-publish these stories was not a random one; rather it was made based on their current relevance: the religious tension between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia has completely given way to new religious tension between Muslims and the government in Ethiopia over the last year and half, and that, we believe, has shifted away the confrontation between extremists of the two predominant religions in Ethiopia; the 7th Regional Nile Day was celebrated in Ethiopia during the last week of Feb. this year under the motto of “Land Degradation and Climate Change: Address Shared Threats – Sustain Nile Cooperation”, which was Addis Standard’s concern nearly two years ago; and in honor of this year’s Women’s’ day our lead story details the increasing dynamics of violence against women in Ethiopia.
But publishing selected articles was not the only part of our 2nd year anniversary publication. Three months ago our team of writers and myself have agreed to collect a selection of readers’ views on the topic we thought was crucial since Addis Standard came out first in Feb. 2011: its content.
The responses by many of our readers were incredibly encouraging. Besides its sustained and unique columns such as That’s America, Society and Economy, Let’s Talk and Law and Order, Addis Standard is the first and only magazine, in the history of Ethiopian media so far, to have its own correspondents, columnists and analysts located at different countries in western, eastern and southern Africa as well as the Middle East and the U.S. who continued covering non-domestic affairs far deeper and broader than any other local media in present day Ethiopia. We are extremely happy that this fact enjoys a genuine and well-deserved praise from our esteemed readers.
However, to our surprise, we found out that a considerable number of our readers treat Addis Standard as a magazine destined only for the “élites.” For me and the rest of the fabulous team at the magazine, this reflection was not a comforting one at all because all that we want is to make this magazine available for everyone who has the passion and the discipline for reading well articulated and thought-provoking analysis, news, features and commentaries that are written both by permanent staff members and our increasing number of candid contributors and we continued publishing. When asked, most of our readers who volunteered to give us their feedbacks said their main reason to label the magazine as a magazine for the “élites” was because it deals with topics that are “non-Ethiopian” and is published only in “English.”
By choosing our editorial policy we are merely defending journalism that transcends borders and scope of coverage, as good journalism should, without resorting into the culture of copy-paste journalism. As such Addis Standard is fulfilling its mission handsomely. Tagging it as a magazine only for the “élites” based on its medium of publication is also misrepresentative of its intents; for a start, 98% of the feedbacks on the stories that come to us particularly in the form of letters come from our Ethiopian readers ranging from university students and professors to ordinary civil servants and those who simply enjoy reading our stories, not to mention other publications of a somehow similar sort we believe we have inspired over the past two years. Although we know that we miss out on being the media for the majority Amharic readers in the country, we don’t believe we are dispensable. Owing to that Addis Standard should be one of the kinds of media that must continue to exist in Ethiopia despite the less favorable conditions surrounding the survival of the free press in the country. With that in mind, we are celebrating our 2nd year anniversary by stepping into our publication of Vol. III Issue No. 25. We hope you continue enjoying reading Addis Standard.