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Eritrean Ministry of Information At War With Foreign Media

Six days ago, Abdulrahman Al-Rashid, the previous editor of Alsharq Al-Awsat, who now maintains a column in the newspaper stated that “the Saudi minister Ahmed Al-Khatib visiting the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam appears to have been an excuse for a media exchange that turned the relationship between Riyadh and Cairo from an intimate one to one where bad language is used.”

In that context, Al-Rashid said that Ethiopia, “succeeded in containing Somalia by force, unlike [the USA in] Afghanistan, and it disciplined Eritrea.”

On December 20,’s The Pencil had mentioned that “Egypt’s AlSisi finally made a one day visit to Uganda, … on the same day Ahmed AlKhatib, the Saudi king’s special adviser was visiting Ethiopia and made an unannounced visit to the GERD.”

The Pencil also speculated that, “any of the two visits could have been a reaction to the other [and that] the political rift between the two countries is not expected to be resolved anytime soon.

On December 30, Eritrea’s Ministry of Information issued a statement in response to the London-based Alsharq Al-Awsat, for publishing in its Arabic and English editions, “a number of distorted “news stories” on Eritrea.” And criticized what it described as the “lengthy but shallow “opinion piece” by a certain Abdulrahman Al-Rashid.”

It further accused Alsharq Al-Awast for going out of its way to “shower praise on the TPLF regime as a “dependable” errand boy to advance US military and political agendas in the Horn of Africa region.”

On December 14, 2016, The Ministry of Information had another statement stating that, the previous day, “the Beirut-based Arabic Tv channel, Al-Mayadeen, wrongly asserts, that the “United Arab Emirates has acquired a 30-year lease for a military base in the Port of Assab””.

On the same statement, the ministry has another accusation for the Al-Mayadeen Tv and stated that “on 20th June this year, Al-Mayadeen had falsely claimed that “Israel has completed the construction of its largest listening post at Emba-Soira, Eritrea… to monitor maritime movements in the Bab-el Mendeb and eavesdrop on Iran”.

Similar to news about the UAE’s military presence in Eritrea, which has been spreading since last year at about the same time the war in Yemen started, rumors about Israeli military presence in the Red Sea, and lately about its listening post in the inaccessible Soira Mountain, has been circulating in the Arab countries for many years, mainly by a Kuwait professor, Dr. Abdallah Al-Nafisi, who regularly appears on the media repeating such claims, and “is extensively quoted as a credible analyst”.

However, the Eritrean regime is not fond of the media: in 2001 while the world’s attention was focused on the New York attacks on “911”, it stealthily closed all free press, newspapers and arrested the editors and the reporters. Fifteen years alter, the whereabouts of the arrested is still unknown.

“If the Eritreans government would have an authority to rule the world for one day, its first proclamation would certainly condemn all foreign media outlets to face the fate of the nascent but vibrant Eritrean free press that was shut in 2001.”

On 0-100 score set by Freedom House, 0 being the best and 100 being the worst, Eritrea scores 94.

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  • Kalihari Snake

    PIA Strategy for Ethiopia: Interfere with logistics service to Ethiopia, notably the new Addis Ababa>Djibouti China rail movement, and sit back watch Ethiopia implode, as aside from civil unrest in the country, with an estimated population of 103 million, it needs simply cannot be met by the Ports of Djibouti, Berbera and Pt. Sudan and the Lamu rail project is still far in the distance. Ethiopia’s logistics needs will be accentuated during 2017 as Ethiopia just yesterday appealed for US$ 948 million for El Nino affected humanitarian needs. Strange how tables can suddenly switch as Ethiopia’s strategy for Eritrea since 2001 has been to continue illegally occupying Eritrea and to isolate and to economically strangle the country into implosion. Even in the past, Ethiopia has demonstrated that it would at all costs, not make use of Eritrea’s port for the movement of humanitarian goods, even in the event of a life saving food supply line. Ethiopia remains the world’s most populated landlocked country.

    • Abi

      Hi Snake
      What a strategy! Now tell us PIA’s strategy to the betterment of Eritrea. Tell me one mega project in the last 25 years that is beneficial to the population.

      • Kalihari Snake

        Hi Abi. PIA’s strategy has clearly not been to the betterment of the Eritrean people and I am not taking that line; it is what it is. Given that said, it is an absolute sham the way the U.S., the P5 and U.N. Security Council has given Ethiopia special preferential treatment and has never considered applying sanctions on Ethiopia for not abiding by the EEBC ruling, while at the same time, has been sanction slap-happy with Eritrea. I really believe that had Ethiopia withdrawn from Badme, PIA would not still be in power……I know that many will not agree with me here.

        • Abi

          Hi Snake
          Haile TG ( the finest Awatista ever!) used to argue along the same line (free Badime and all will be fine) before he dropped it.
          Well, I can tell you PIA’s greatest achievement is to bring sanctions to Eritrea. Eritrea is sanctioned not because of the border issues but a totally different one. There are many countries with border issues and I don’t know if any one of them is sanctioned by UN. Teach me.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Abi: Ethiopia blatantly refused to adhere to Rule of Law in the case of the EEBC decision and the U.S., West and U.N. Security Council shamelessly did not pressure Ethiopia on the matter, or slap sanctions on Ethiopia for non-adherence. So, out of lack of recourse, PIA started supporting any Somalia TFG opposition group that he could find, in an attempt to place a painful slinter in the side of Ethiopia’s eastern flank. However, the strategy backfired and resulted in sanctions being placed on Eritrea. By the way, I can still remember the EPLF office in Mogadishu during the Derg.

          • Dear Kalihari Snake,

            It was very foolish of the leaders of Ethiopia (tplf) to go for arbitration in the first place. Well, there are explanations for that. They wanted to look a group of nice people to the international community and to eritreans as well, but most importantly they believed they will get everything they wanted, as the victors of the war. Nevertheless, Ethiopian leaders had a rude awakening, when the eecc decisions came out. We remember the lies of the FM, who invited the people to come out and celebrate the victory, although he new very well about the humiliating truth of the defeat at the negotiation table. They ended up twice losers and they had to renegade on the decision.

            The most unheard of things in politics of war, was for a country to be the victim of aggression, to sacrifice tens of thousands of its young to defeat the enemy, and return to the status quo ante, and then, go as fools for arbitration, only to renegade later on.

            If TPLF had said we were the victim of aggression, we sacrificed tens of thousands of our young to drive out the aggressor, and case closed, we would have been all in a better situation today, Ethiopians and Eritreans alike. One goes for arbitration for a cold and painless case and not after paying a big price for which the aggressor bears solely all the responsibilities for starting the war. That is why nobody is forcing ethiopia to abide by the eecc decisions. The best they can do is to pay a lip-service, whenever and wherever it is necessary.

          • Kalihari Snake

            Hi Horizon. Thanks for the comment for which I do understand. It is indeed a tough one. Short of letting decades go by to sooth the pain of thousands lost on both side….I am short on answers.

  • sara

    Dear Awtistas
    The Alshark alawsat newspaper is part of the Saudi Arabian research &marketing and publishing co- conglomerate, that includes Arab-news English and various periodicals in sport and fashion etc. As the name of the conglomerate indicates it is owned by the Saudi government and headed by one of the royal family members. Th Saudi government also owns or partly owns the MBC tv channels that has strong presence in the Mideast and Europe some part of Africa, and Mr Abdulrahma Al Rasheed according my sources has headed at one time or another the publishing papers or the TV channel as editor in chief or managing director. If you read recent Shark Alawsat (Arabic) news paper Mr Al rasheed is a columnist and is famous for his continues criticism and jabs at Islamist (political) parties and the Daaesh -alqaieda entities in his articles.

  • Nitricc

    Hey Beyan, the other day the media were asking Denzel Washington about the credibility of the so called private press and journalism all together. And his answer was ” well, you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed and if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed, what is the point?”
    My point is, I think journalism is dead. It is a joke.

    • saay7

      Hey Nitrricay:

      Mr. Denzel Washington was paying tribute to a much older saying attributed to Mark Twain: ‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.” Or maybe Denzel forgot where he read it, either way: he was saying it as an angry activist reacting to Hillary’s loss; Mark Twain said it in his general commentary on the the specialness of individuals and the imbecility of mobs.

      The “journalism is dead” milieu is being pushed by individuals and institutions who has a vested interest in blurring the distinction between facts and fiction, and the chairman of that world is Putin. There is a great write up about this in Politico, it is called “Putin’s Real Long Game”; look it up, well worth your read.

      Happy new year, and pledge to make this year the Year of Listening.


    • Brhan

      Hi Nitric
      I am deeply interested in the progress and elevation of journalism, having spent my life in that profession, regarding it as a noble profession and one of unequaled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people.
      Joseph Pulitzer
      Read more at: xxxxxx