Ever since the Eritrean Unity Movement in Norway began to expose the YPFDJ they have been trying hard to improve their image and to attract media attention in Norway. They incited hatred and mobilized for a demonstration against Norwegian media particularly against NRK and few individuals who according to them tarnish Eritrean identity, history and belief. They had the demonstration on June 15, as planned. Despite all the campaign, intimidation and mobilization, it was small. Members of the Eritrean Unity Movement in Norway in addition to other members of the opposition and independent individuals challenged the demonstrators by distributing leaflets which exposed the dictatorial regime. They were more visible than the PFDJ with their ‘Enough to dictatorship’ T-shirts. Their message was very much welcome by the Norwegian public that is basically peace and democracy loving.
The aim of the demonstrators was to silence any criticism of the regime by the Norwegian media, just as they have silenced any opposing voice in Eritrea through threats, imprisonment, torture and disappearance. They think they are in Eritrea and that they can stop any criticism of the regime in a democratic country. They managed to get a TV2 (a private channel) coverage on the demonstration that was covered by journalist Kadafi Zaman. The journalist just presented all their claims as they are, without any input from his own work or input from a neutral sources and without taking the opposition’s point of view who were vividly present there. Our efforts to get in touch with him were given deaf ears so far. We hope and believe that TV2 will not be a mouthpiece of dictators in Africa. It would be good if our Journalist Union takes up the issue with TV2. The journalist claims there were 300 demonstrators, NRK claims they were over 70 and the Alenalaki pictures document the truth.
Below is an English translation of the TV2 coverage:
It has many years since some showed up outside NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) to demonstrate, but today an immigrant group that one rarely hears about, namely the Eritreans, demonstrated against the state channel at Marienlyst in Oslo. It is not often the Eritrean community in Oslo resort to demonstrations. They are actually quite absent in the public debate. Norway’s three largest Eritrean associations claim NRK defames them.
“We want the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation to stop its selective coverage”, says Yared Hagos. Among the reports they are protesting against is the evening news report from 17 May last year that talked about forcing of Eritreans in Norway to pay tax, and the case that hundreds of thousands of Kroner were allocated to a controversial youth party in Eritrea. More than three hundred Norwegian-Eritreans marched from Majorstua to NRK in Oslo. “There are many who could not attend because of work, school and studies. But we show our support for the protest”, says Yared. –
When asked what do they wanted, Yared replied, “We want a comprehensive coverage. Both good and bad.” After the speeches and dancing it was time to meet NRK management face to face. The demonstrators met Knut Erik Holm, who is the foreign affairs head at NRK. He said, “I thank you for this and will look at it. I do not mean to discuss our Eritrea coverage here and now, but what I would like to say at this moment is that we have been doing honest journalistic coverage about Eritrea.
NRK, covered the same demonstration in this manner: The translated text follows:
Over 70 Eritreans with slogans and banners gathered at Marienlyst in Oslo to demonstrate against what they believe is NRK’s misrepresentation of Eritrea. The slogans among others were, ‘No to selective coverage, Yes to balanced coverage’. The demonstrators referred to various NRK reports which they claim are unfair and false. Knut Erik Holm, who is the foreign affairs head at NRK received 450 signatures which claim the reports were irresponsible and unethical. He told the demonstrators that he will not go into discussion now, but he said he meant NRK has carried out an honest journalism regarding Eritrea. A small group formed an opposing demonstration at a distance. This was the group that are critical of the Eritrean regime. Their message was “NRK must continue and not be influenced. “
Earlier coverage by the NRK which the demonstrators criticized included opinions by both sides whenever they were willing to express themselves, besides expert opinion and the journalist’s own research on the issue.
Alenalki covered the event pictorially with 550 pictures: If you divide this by 70 (the demonstrators) it means each one of them appears approximately about 8 times.