Ethiopia’s private television channels: Ethiopian News Network (ENN) might have to pull the plug off. The executives of the TV station have spoken to all of its 115 employees at an arranged gathering last Friday and used it as an opportunity to explain the troubles of the company.
Founded by an Ethiopian-Canadian journalist, Benyam Kebede (Ben) – formerly based in Montreal—who founded the company in 2016 inside his residential compound was said to have been disheartened by what had transpired around his company in recent times.
Along with his deputy, Samuel Gizaw, he told his emotional employees that, unless something drastic happens on the weekend, ENN will be history. He told the gathering; he had done all he can, including making an attempt to transfer the company to a new owner for minimal payment, but that has not been successful. He was also said to make an attempt to reach out to influential actors within the government, but that was also not successful.
The TV channel was also said to be troubled by sponsors distancing themselves from the media organization, including the Ethiopian Commercial Bank, Ethio-telecom and the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation, which were said to have pulled out of their long-term contracts with ENN. These were followed by private institutions which were following the suit, forcing ENN to run programs with no commercials for months.
The company also lost some credibility when it mixed-up photos of incidents from abroad with that of Ethiopia most particularly the riots in the Oromia region. Many critics blamed it for exaggerating local happenings, in times of distress to win favors from its dwindling viewers.