Ethiopian Press Agency suspended journalists linked to it, but their identities and the number of journalists involved in it are undisclosed.
Ethiopian Press Agency, state-owned media outlet, published doctored images of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his wife Zenash Tayachew on Tuesday, and it said: “it was a mistake.”
In the image, Zenash Tayachew is seen lying on the side on the bed while Abiy Ahmed is on the floor.
The image was used for a story about Ethiopia’s Election Board map for the upcoming election in August of this year.
The Agency removed the image moments later and issued a brief statement on social media asking for an apology for what it called “mistake.”
The statement said, “The image that Ethiopian Press Agency used for the news ‘the board will announce polling station maps on Saturday’ is a wrong one, and we apologize for the ‘mistake.’”
It also announced that journalists linked to it are suspended from work and that it will make public the next step.
Based on screenshot of Ethiopian Press Agency Facebook Timeline, the image with Ethiopian Election Board story was on social media at least for five minutes.
In December 2019, a false story about the death of Debretsion Gebremichael (President of Tigray regional state and chairman of Tigray People’s Liberation Front) was published on another state-owned media – Walta Information. The Agency terminated journalists linked to it. At the time, the Tigray regional state was very infuriated about it. To date, the public is not informed about the result of the investigation – especially what the motive was and what political entities were behind it.
Conspiratorial politics is, at times, noticeable on contents from state-owned media outlets. But it never was too graphic like the one published by Ethiopian Press Agency on Tuesday.
Today’s publication of Abiy Ahmed’s doctored image seems to have a sinister motive behind it.