An Ethiopian journalist working for the state-owned station with four years’ service has published his resignation letter on social media saying he had to quit due to the channel’s decision not to air the interview that he held with the hugely popular singer, Teddy Afro.
The journalist, Biruk Endale, making his resignation letter public on Facebook, said he doesn’t have moral capacity to continue working. “The issue is not about censoring this particular musician or not. It goes more that. It is about sacrificing trust for the journalism craft,” Biruk wrote on his Facebook page.
His interview with Teddy Afro was going to be a big deal but the station abruptly cancelled it, for reasons that weren’t exactly clear. Other reports had that the journalist delivered the resignation letter just an hour before he was dismissed. On Friday morning the management of the state broadcaster led by Debretsion Gebremichael, minister of communication and information technology held a meeting to review the whole process. Debretsion reportedly condemned the journalist’s decision to interview the singer without the approval of the editor and ordered penalties on all parties involved. Before the meeting was concluded, Biruk handed over the letter, according to reports.
The Facebook post with the resignation letter has been shared nearly 1,119 times and has more than 1,285 comments. The station’s decision to drop the interview is seen part of ongoing efforts of the government owned news channel to sideline the singer perceived as critical to the regime. Among the reactions on Twitter, a blogger Zecharias wrote that
So like him or not, it appears that Biruk Endale acted on his own inability to remain passive. Kudos to him, he stayed true to the craft.
— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) May 19, 2017
Some commentators wondered how on earth the journalist took him so long to realize that the state broadcaster is a mouthpiece of the government that has little credibility.
Lol. He jumped on the opportunity. By association, he pivoting himself for fame. I never knew he existed before today 😏 https://t.co/SwbkQPQ4Nd
— Alemayehu (@BabeeMesh) May 19, 2017
Teddy Afro, who topped the Billboard world albums chart with “Ethiopia,” which less than three weeks after its release has sold nearly 700,000 copies. In his widely diffused interview with The Associated Press, the singer said raising political issues should not be a sin.