Recently, a well-known correspondent for one of the major American media outlets stationed in Ethiopia sent me an email grousing about my article urging boycott of Coca Cola in Ethiopia. He wrote, “I’m sorry to be blunt, but I don’t understand the thrust of this article [on boycotting Coca Cola]. You seem intent on misleading at least some of your ‘millions’ of readers that Ethiopian politics is simply evil regime vs angelic (and united) opponents.”
My response to the befuddled foreign correspondent was terse, swift and unapologetic. “It is. Deal with it! I am not sorry to be blunt. It is your right to mindlessly parrot the regime’s line!!!” When one’s journalistic accreditation and privileged existence in Ethiopia depends on one’s choice of words and reportorial insipidity, timidity masquerading as integrity and neutrality becomes a journalistic virtue.