On Sunday, July 16, 2023, a safe in the office of “Ethiopia Insider”, an online media managed by Haq Media and Communication, was broken into by unknown parties and its property was stolen. The media institution has been experiencing repeated pressures as a result of the stories it publishes, and Haq Media and Communication feels that this robbery is a continuation of these overlapping pressures.
Yesterday, Sunday, “Ethiopia Insider” colleagues stayed in the newsroom till 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and then locked the door. Colleagues who came at the office at 7:00 a.m. this morning found the door locked, but the safe containing the newsroom’s valuables had been forced open and looted.
The looted safe included three new and modern digital cameras, two zoom lenses, four other standard lenses, four laptop computers, and a smart mobile phone. Haq Media and Communication reported the robbery to the police station near the Adey Ababa Stadium in Bole sub-city, and policemen from the station arrived to the “Ethiopia Insider’” office and took fingerprints and started investigation into the matter.
Haq Media and Communication has a reasonable suspicion that “the matter is likely to be orchestrated”, as similar extortions have recently been observed against emerging media and civil society organizations struggling to gain a foothold in Ethiopia’s difficult media environment. For example, it was recently reported that the Ethio 251 Media Studio and the Research Office of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCo) were similarly broken into and looted.
“Ethiopia Insider” is an online media organization that has gained credibility and acceptance for its free and independent reporting that adheres to strong professional ethics. Based on this acceptance, it has started piloting video productions to its audience by increasing its institutional capacity and obtaining the necessary video equipment. The robbery hinders “Ethiopia Insider’s” ability to produce high-quality news and broaden its audience base.
Haq Media and Communication calls for all parties and stakeholders to join hands in order to address this type of challenges on the media and civic institutions. Haq Media and Communication will follow the situation and provide updates on the findings of the police inquiry.