News / Africa

    Ethiopian Diaspora Media Compete Over Message

    Nunu Wako is one of several Ethiopian media hosts based in Silver Spring, Maryland. (VOA/Nico Colombant)Nunu Wako is one of several Ethiopian media hosts based in Silver Spring, Maryland. (VOA/Nico Colombant)
    x
    Nunu Wako is one of several Ethiopian media hosts based in Silver Spring, Maryland. (VOA/Nico Colombant)
    Nunu Wako is one of several Ethiopian media hosts based in Silver Spring, Maryland. (VOA/Nico Colombant)
    Nico Colombant
    SILVER SPRING, Maryland - As African media ventures have grown quickly in recent years, members of the diaspora in the United States are contributing to the surge of production. Within one of these communities, there is fierce competition over the messages that are being broadcast.  

    At a recent anti-Ethiopian government rally in the city of Thurmont, Maryland, many of the journalists and citizen journalists recording material were from the Ethiopian diaspora.

    Photos and videos of the protest were quickly posted on Ethiopian diaspora websites.

    Another part of Maryland, Silver Spring, has, for years, been the base for Discovery Communications, which bills itself as the world’s top non-fiction media company.

    More recently, this Washington suburb has become the hub of competing Ethiopian diaspora media.


    Ethiopian-born, American-raised Nunu Wako is preparing to tape an interview for her lifestyle show called "The Nunu Wako Show". It airs on the EBS television network.
    Many of her shows focus on success stories in the diaspora.

    “Our focus is Ethiopians and Africans," Wako explains. "We want to tell the story, the journey that we take when we are not in Ethiopia and how we do everything that might not be doable, but make the impossible possible."

    She adds that her program, like others on EBS, stays away from politics which deeply divide her community. Some members are strong supporters of two-decade ruler Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, while others call him a dictator who suppresses freedoms. Very few Ethiopian immigrants have an impartial view.

    From a nearby studio in Silver Spring, Abebe Belew hosts his weekly Addis Dimts radio show.  He says he has no choice but to discuss politics.

    “I speak about all the issues, but most of the time, the serious problem is Ethiopian politics," Belew notes.  "If you have been to Ethiopia, you can see we have a very young generation, the majority of them, and the atmosphere, the global atmosphere for change is very suitable.  But because of the Meles dictator government, the Ethiopians cannot do anything.”

    Belew said that he would be thrown in jail if he did his radio show in Ethiopia. His show costs $75,000 per year with much of the money coming from online donations.

    “It is clear for Ethiopians. All you have to do is speak the truth and tell it as it is. So that is how my style is,” Belew adds.

    Opponents of the Ethiopian government interviewed at the Thurmont protest said they loved the Addis Dimts show, while they said shows like those broadcast on EBS appeal to supporters of Prime Minister Meles.

    But they said it is nice to be able to choose from more and more African media, including those being made in the diaspora, where freedom of speech and media go much further than they do at home.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Offended from: Everywhere
    May 29, 2012 11:17 AM
    This report did not reveal a whole a lot. It did not state the fact that most of the Ethiopian diaspora are victims of the regime being propped up by the State Department, paid billions of dollars annually. It did not also reveal Ethiopia is not one language country, but diverse, and most importantly it did not reveal the genocide going on in Ogaden (against ethnic somalis). It also omitted the corruption Ethiopia is gripped with, few high rank and file are completely controlling the economic activities of the country. The aid money arriving in Ethiopia also goes right back out to foreign offshare bank accounts in the names of the TPLF CC and their families. If you try to give a crack on African politics please make it fair and give the main indicators of that specific country's regime.

    by: Westside from: California
    May 27, 2012 6:01 AM
    Is VOA ever going to give voice to many Diaspora Ethiopians who are successful business owners, accountants, doctors and lawyers who don't live or breathe Ethiopian politics? We are Americans, building America, yet your daily reports recently dwell on nothing but immigrant politics.

    Please also broaden your focus, there are tens-of-thousands of us living outside Washington DC, it's the "Voice of America," after all.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora