BY ALEM FISSHATZION
I CAN’T agree more with Ray Ja’s posting in TesfaNews on 15 March. One can’t help wondering what the BBC’s hidden agenda this time is. Not only did the BBC fail to provide its audience with a contextualized, objective view of the country or situation, but seemed to be totally confused about what the journalist was out to investigate and report upon. Could the BBC not find a more professional journalist to cover a story in country where it had been refused entry for about a decade now?
During that decade, the BBC has been battling with severe financial problems resulting to several job cuts over the years. On 7 December 2004, Mail Online reported “The BBC has today confirmed that 2,900 jobs are to be axed over the next three years under moves to make savings of £320million'”.
Several such announcements have been made since then by that corporation. One of the latest was on 17 July 2014, when the BBC’s director of news James Harding announced that the news department was to axe 415 jobs as cost-cutting measures continue. The move was part of £800m efficiency savings required after the license fee was frozen in 2010. These latest cuts are expected to save £48m by 2017.
With that in mind, it seems rather to me that the BBC are being “penny wise and pound foolish” when they send a team on a fact-finding mission halfway across the world to investigate Eritrea’s laudable achievements in the health sector, among other well documented impeccable achievements in other areas, and they end up filing in a report such as Yalda Hakim of the BBC did. Her article is riddled with a lot of preconceptions and other unfounded cliches that other reporters have bored us with over time.
After the BBC’s merciless cuts during the last decade, is this what they are really doing with the British taxpayers’ money while pretending to be watching costs closely?
Journalism is a very noble profession and journalists have a moral and ethical responsibility to inform and educate their audiences. Eritrea’s achievements in the health sector are really worthy of emulation and benchmarking by her African neighbours in particular, and the rest of the developing world in general. Maybe, it is because if you keep telling the world day-in-day-out that Eritrea is a land of bondage where people live in misery and constant intimidation and human rights abuses, you can’t just turn around and say that they have made most significant progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and infant mortality.
I agree that it is a very bitter pill to swallow, especially considering that the nation of Eritrea has been, to coin an English phrase “been sent to Coventry” by the International Community, and subjected to all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable sanctions and boycotts.
I wonder what Yalda Hakim’s editor had to say about the reporting of her findings; not much I presume, seeing that he/she let it get published.