BY ALEM FISSHATZION
I was somewhat grossly surprised albeit happy to read an article by Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye on TesfaNews on Tuesday 26 September.
The element of surprise was that not only was the article posted by a veteran Swedish journalist but that it was advocating a change in Sweden’s approach to her bilateral relations with Eritrea.
Mr. Schibbye expressed his belief in his article that it is high time to abandon the use of “silent diplomacy” in favor of using Civil Society to try and bring the two nations together into a more amicable and harmonious relationship whereby issues like that of the imprisoned Dawit Isaak could be solved.
This is a startling constructive suggestion coming from a Swedish journalist. My experience is that international mainstream media in general, and Swedish media in particular have to date excelled themselves in promoting a rather hostile hate-campaign against the government and state of Eritrea.
It is a very well known fact that Swedish media with its bias and hatred seize every opportunity to tarnish the political image of the Eritrean government with baseless and unfounded allegations.
It has come to a point where no sane Swedish journalist would even dream of writing or publishing any positive article showing achievements in the area of national development made by the government of Eritrea.
Oh no, that is a very grave taboo in Sweden, and the Swedish journalist fraternity makes sure that everyone toes the line in the crusade to demonize the regime in Asmara; from the state-owned Swedish Radio and Television Services to the smallest neighborhood weekly tabloid.
Woe betide anyone who even tries to break this trend. They continually violate all accepted and ethical journalistic principles just to spread hatred against Eritrea and indoctrinate the Swedish populace in their hatred campaign.
I have many times written articles of my own challenging the veracity of the frequent radio programs and fake news articles against the state and government of Eritrea which never get published or even graced with a simple comment.
The latest instance was over a ridiculous radio program broadcasted a month ago over the National Radio station P1 filled with the usual pathetic, baseless and slanderous insinuations trying to link the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm with the Eritrean Orthodox Church of Sweden about spying on worshipers, for goodness sake!
I immediately responded with an article ridiculing the program and pointed out a lot of flaws in the program; but as usual, it was met with deafening silence.
I have over the years vented my frustration about the unfair and bias treatment of issues pertaining to Eritrea by the Swedish media in several articles published in TesfaNews.
I have often wondered whether any Swedish journalist would ever muster the courage to write anything positive about Eritrea or even try to promote some form of mutual understanding between the nations and peoples of Sweden and Eritrea.
Martin Schibbye seems to be on the right path of achieving that glorious acclaim. His suggestions are concrete and positive but will Mr. Schibbye be courageous enough to try to publish his ideas in the Swedish media, thereby creating a debate that might break the deadlock?