I would like to point out some significant inconsistencies in your magazine. Your editorial (#JusticeForHanna, Dec. 2014) asks Ethiopians to “wakeup” against the injustices towards women in society. The article is certainly geared more towards gender based violence than inequality between the two genders.
However there is a larger theme speaking about the need for equality. In the same magazine, there is another article entitled “Maybe we are just really stupid”. Right in the centre, in quotations, is an excerpt that writes, “If women don’t want to get pregnant, I suppose I have to pay for their contraception methods too?”. “Tell me something, will women pay if I get prostate cancer? And how about if I need Viagra? You know how expensive that is. Will women pay for my Viagra?” Your magazine should not have printed this opinion. I am not sure if the writer realizes that a woman does not get pregnant on her own.
Having a child and choosing to become pregnant is a combined decision between two people and choosing to become pregnant should not be viewed by society as a burden to a healthcare system. A female also only requires contraception because males are not willing to share the burden by taking their own male forms of contraception. Such opinions are the perfect examples of why there continues to be an uphill battle towards gender equality.
Stop the media war; help the public make the right decision
Media has usually, if not always, the power to change the way the public thinks and behaves. Information is always power. And the one from the media plays a significant role in the decision citizens make as it is usually taken for granted and double-checked. Media professionals are considered as authorized truth tellers. As a result, the information coming from the television screens, radio speakers, and newspaper columns have a big impact on the way the majority of the public perceives the truth about something.
This means media organizations and professionals are expected to dig more information and go extra-miles to double check whether the information they accessed is really the truth. That is a matter of trustworthiness for them while it is for the public a matter of making the right decision using the information. Whenever they fail to do so, the destruction will be regrettable both for the public and for themselves.
That is what happened during the last three months in media reports about what is going on in Ethiopia’s telecom sector. As of October, reports appeared on different newspapers indicating that Ericson, the Swedish telecom company, is to take part in the country’s telecom expansion project that was signed among ethio-telecom and Huawei and ZTE, Chinese telecom operators, with 1.6 billion USD vendor financing agreement to last for two years.
From the beginning, I have read different and conflicting information about the involvement of Ericson in the project. I was not surprised about the distorted information as the issue was at its early age. After all, the information had some slice of truth in it. What is surprising is the media still seem not to get the truth about what exactly the involvement of Ericson is. Ethio-telecom did officially sign a frame contract with Ericsson a week before and various media outlets have covered the story.
As an individual who wishes to get accurate information about significant projects, I learnt that Ericson’s share in the project is to work only on the wireless in all four different circles it is awarded with 400 million USD.That means it will not work on other lots even in the four circles unlike what the media reported. Most importantly, I came to understand that the negotiation shifted all the potential risks to the country. The agreement worth of 400 million USD , which the country is expected to start paying after a year in Foreign currency (because Ericson’s grace period is only one year as far as I know), excludes the cost of auxiliary facilities like batteries and iron towers. These costs will instead be covered by the country even after paying 400 million USD.
I also highly doubt the impact it will have on the time frame the project is expected to be put into commercial usage. It takes months to produce and transport the batteries and towers to the sites from factories. The time it takes to reach agreement with the supplier is not exceptional. After all these processes, it needs another time to implement it. This is something that has to do with whether the project can be put into commercial usage as already set a year ago. That is a question that should have led the media to know more about the details instead of simply taking what was literally said in the official press conferences. We need more detailed information from the media. That is a long way to go.