As the power struggle between Ethiopia’s federal government and the northern Tigray Region’s political leaders threatens to destabilize the Horn of Africa, people in the region are turning to independent media, like Voice of America for accurate, reliable, and comprehensive coverage of the military conflict and humanitarian crisis, and the international response.
VOA’s coverage of the crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, pulls expertise from its correspondents around the globe — from VOA Horn of Africa Service, to inside the refugee camps, to the network’s team in Washington.
VOA journalists are reporting on the crisis for TV, radio, and digital media, and this special section online contains its latest reports.
VOA is also providing uncensored information on U.S. response, including the March 22 delegation led by U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The meeting, in which the U.S. delegation expressed President Biden’s “grave concerns” about the ongoing Tigray conflict was explained in a story that originated in the Horn of Africa’s Amharic Service.
After the White House called for a full, independent investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses in Tigray, VOA in Washington filed for TV a video that provided the background and the latest updates. A tweet on the March 12 story generated more than 222,000 impressions. For the piece, VOA Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine collaborated with Senior White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara.
A separate VOA story also published March 12 described the reaction of Ethiopian diaspora communities in the U.S. and Canada to the Ethiopian government’s handling of the crisis. That piece was written by three reporters from the VOA Horn of Africa Service: Habtamu Seyoum, Alula Kebede, and Solomon Abate.
VOA has been covering the conflict since it began in late 2020 at a time when the Ethiopian government’s imposed blackout made it virtually impossible to get accurate information about the conflict.
VOA responded to the worsening refugee crisis by adding existing Tigrigna-language radio broadcasts to VOA FM radio stations in the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Misrata. These newscasts reach not only the newly displaced civilians but also Eritreans in both cities who arrived prior to the exodus and still have ties to the crisis-affected area. Newly created “microsites” deliver digital content in Tigrigna, Amharic, Afan Oromo and English from VOA regional reporting teams.
Thanks to its expanding focus on reporting for and about refugees all over the world, VOA is also uniquely poised to report from inside the camps themselves. In just the first 15 days of December, VOA’s refugee reporter Heather Murdock filed 22 articles from inside the refugee camps in neighboring Sudan where thousands of Ethiopians fled. A TV package included accounts from refugees who have lost track of loved ones; a web article detailed the mayhem inside Ethiopia, with one witness saying he jumped over dead bodies as he fled. Murdock is VOA’s Middle East correspondent based in Istanbul and covers Africa and the Middle East.