The word ‘Yabele’-‘ያበለ’ refers to one of the traditional communication systems of Tigrayans, which has historical and professional relevance. Historically, it was recognized as one way of transmitting information during the ”First Weyane,” the peasant uprising in Tigray against the government of Emperor Haileselassie-I, which took place in May–November 1943. Professionally, ‘Yabele’ embodies sourcing, the most crucial element in journalism, in the Tigrayans’ tradition of information circulation.
Yabele Media (formerly known as Axumite Media Ltd.) is an independent media organisation with an online and a TV presence on Horn Broadcasting Services (HBS). Yabele was established in March 2021 by journalists and media professionals who had fled Ethiopia due to the ongoing genocidal war in the country, ethnic profiling, a total lack of media freedom, and a communications blackout in Tigray, one of the regional states in Ethiopia. Yabele, through its online platforms such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and Linkedin, reaches the digital community with content tailored to them. Its TV segment on the HBS satellite reaches all people who have TV sets in war-torn Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia in multiple languages.
All of the journalists working at Yabele Media have personal tragedies and difficult times to remember; they escaped arrest and/or persecution, as most of them were working in media institutions in Addis Ababa or Tigray. Now, they work virtually as a team, some based in Kenya, others in central Europe.
Yabele Media produces content with the aim of uncovering atrocities, massacres, and the distruction happening because of the war in Ethiopia, with a particular focus on the people of Tigray. It independently produces content that advances the interests of the people of Tigray in Ethiopia, and discusses issues related to their, and Ethiopia’s, societal and political future.
Yabele as Axumite Media, had been providing content from March to October 2021 in the Tigrigna language for Radio Wegahta Tigray, a community radio registered in the USA, which was reaching out to the rural people in Tigray. It covered the station’s daily news and provided other content targeting the people most affected by the war. The radio was a light in the darkness, considering the total blockade of information and absolute censorship in Tigray by the Federal government and its allies (the Eritrean government and Amhara regional forces). Later, Axumite media owned Axumite Radio and broadcast daily news and other programs at 15340 frequency, 19 meter-band, starting at 8:30 pm in Tigray, until February 2022.
Providing impartially verified information to the people affected by the war. There has been a highly partisan framing of information and false propaganda, and Yabele, through its radio airtime and online platform, wants to become a credible source of information that people can rely on to make informed decisions.
Uncovering the atrocities, massacres, rape, and human rights violations, and reporting on the ramifications of the ongoing genocidal war against the people of Tigray and beyond.
Setting agendas helpful to peace and negotiation, a lasting political settlement, and deciding what is important for the future of the people of Tigray.
Preparing people for the post-war time of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
- News, Analysis (ዜና፣ ሓተታ) – are daily programs and define the media type-news media.
- Yabele Focus- (ኣድህቦ ያበለ) –three times a week –reviews and discussions of the media’s portrayal of Tigray and Ethiopia.
- Reclaim & Clarity (ንፅረት)– Twice a week, this program aims to counter false narratives, perceptions, misinformation, distortions, prejudice, disinformation, stereotypes, or hate speech, by providing new information and fresh perspectives.
- Entertainment (ጠዓሞት)- A weekly entertainment program aimed at breaking the depression, stress, pain and sorrow of the people in the war zone and beyond.
- Agenda (ፍኖት)– Twice a week, this program focuses on setting an agenda for the future of the people of Tigray, Ethiopia, and the horn of Africa. It seeks to understand the real causes of the war and opens discussion with the aim of offering a lasting solution accordingly.
- Interviews (ሕሪያ)– Twice-a-week program where selected interviews on current issues are conducted. ***These programs are available on HBS TV and all Yabele media online platforms (YouTube, Website, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and Instagram).
Requests and Demands
Grants and funds to run the media effectively: So far, individual contributors from the Tigray community worldwide and its allies have supported #YabeleMedia. However, it is becoming more difficult to raise enough resources to cover expenses for obvious reasons. For instance, the Axumite Radio programmes stopped broadcasting a while ago due to a lack of resources to cover the 5333€ airwave rent.
We are now struggling to get it back on air as Yabele Radio programmes with the same airtime, a daily one-hour program. Therefore, it has become a necessity for us to look for programmes’ content-based sponsorships (advertorials), grants, and funds from organisations that could support Yabele’s cause, and see it grow as an independent alternative voice in Tigray and Ethiopia.
Relocation to third countries: Yabele’s team members would love to have an independent media institution, in a world where freedom of expression is guaranteed, and journalists are protected. We believe that the post-genocidal-war people of Tigray deserve better institutionalised and independent media, as the post-war governments could potentially be very repressive, exploiting the securitisation of politics. This requires moving to a country where the basic rights of freedom of expression and media are respected. Most members of the Yabele media team are in Nairobi and a few in Ethiopia, and we would like them to meet up in Europe, preferably Germany.
Protection and Safety: Team members are not safe, and could be abducted anytime by the Ethiopian security and intelligence forces operating in Nairobi. They request that protection be provided to them from the UN Humanitarian and Human Rights Agencies, the Kenyan Government, and other embassies.
Our Journalists and Contributors
Woldegiorgis Ghebrehiwot Teklay is the founder and Managing Director of Yabele Media. He manages the media from Munich, Germany, where he is pursuing his PhD in Media Anthropology at the Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich (LMU).
He has more than 13 years of experience in journalism, corporate communication management, media management, and journalism and communications education (lecturing and research). He has been practising journalism online, in print, and broadcast media outlets.
He practised and managed communication works in an academic and non-academic environment. Woldegiorgis taught courses such as journalism, public relations, advertising media planning, communications, media management, and media research methodology at the university-level.
He has studied Journalism and Communication, Culture, Society & Media, Art and Politics, Human Security and Governance in Africa, and the Teaching Profession/Pedagogy, among others.
Andom is the Operational and Digital Media Manager of Yabele Media. As an operational manager, he virtually plans tasks and handles all the day-to-day editorial and administrative activities of the media from Uganda. As a digital media manager, he is responsible for curating and managing the media’s content on all digital platforms.
Andom is academically an electrical and electronics engineer. Professionally, he is an ICT expert, website and mobile app developer, photographer, graphic editor, author, freelance writer, and tourism expert. He has authored books, published several tourism articles, written guides, produced tourist maps, and developed professional websites and mobile apps.
With more than 16 years of experience in teaching, electrical, information communication technology, tourism, and journalism, Andom is a father of two.
Dawit Haileyesus Hailemariam
Dawit is a Production Manager at Yabele Media. He handles all kinds of graphic designing, audio-visual editing, directing, and recording from Nairobi. As a video journalist, it was impossible for Dawit to stay in Addis Ababa, due to the ongoing genocidal war targeting ethnic Tigrayans.
He has over 10 years of experience in production management, directing, audio-video editing, and graphic designing. Dawit studied information technology, 3D Max, camera operation, mass media & communication, and marketing management.
Tesfalem is a News Assignment Editor at Yabele Media. He manages the newsroom, and decides on news content. He went to Nairobi by bus through Moyale crossing the border, after travelling for two weeks for fear of political persecution and ethnic profiling. Tesfalem worked as a journalist for seven years at Dimtsi Weyane Radio & TV station in Tigray. He has authored a book about the history of modern education in Ethiopia. A graduate of Ethiopian Languages and Literature, Tesfalem is married and a father of one.
Teshager is a Programs Coordinator & Producer at Yabele Media. He has four years of experience as a university lecturer, human rights activist, and defender. He taught constitutional law, human rights torts, property law, banking, and classes relating to civil rights. He is also an executive member and legal team coordinator of Seb Hidri Civil Society in Tigray, on which he advocates for human rights, justice, and the rule of law. Teshager graduated in law, and was pursuing two post-graduate degrees in international human rights law and business law at Mekelle University before being forced into exile in Nairobi.
Danial works as a correspondent for Yabele Media in Mekelle. He sends news reports and produces programmes regularly from the war-affected and conflict zone, risking his life. He believes that it is through independent media that the public’s demand for informed decision-making can be met. That is why he strives to contribute to bridging the huge information gap amid the deadly blockade and genocidal war on Tigray.
Daniel has also worked as a Lecturer and Media Researcher at a public university in Tigray for seven years. He took part in various media reform research and implementation initiatives. Earlier, he worked as a radio Reporter at Dimtsi Weyane in Tigray. A post-graduate in journalism and communication (multimedia journalism), Danial is married and a father of one.
Danial Zemchal Tesfahans
Amare Teklay joined Yabele Media in December 2022. He manages our website, edits articles and writes project proposals to raise funds and promote our partnership with other organizations.
Amare is both an economist and a software developer. He holds a PhD in Economics and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher for two and half years at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). He is also a member of the Tghat team.
Volunteer Current Affairs’ Analysts
Gebrehiwot is an academic staff and former dean of the College of Law and Governance at Mekelle University. Currently, he is a PhD researcher at KU Leuven, Faculty of Law, Belgium and volunteers as a current affairs analyst with Yabele Media.
Mulu has been a member of the current affairs analysts team at Yabele Media since June 2022. He taught law at Mekelle University. Currently, he is a PhD researcher at the University of Bergen, Norway, and regularly comments on matters related to Tigray.
Bereket has been a current affairs analyst of the weekly programme, Adhibo-Yabele at Yabele Media since June 2022. He has practised law in Ethiopia, and is a graduate of LLB, LLM and also currently studying International Law at London Southbank University in the UK.
Mickey Raya was a liberation army member and security guard of the late prime minister Meles Zenawi. He is interested in commenting on the current political affairs of Tigray and beyond. He is now part of Yabele Media’s volunteer current affairs analysts as of June 2022.
Yabele on HBS Satellite TV.
Yabele Radio will be back on air soon.
Short Wave Frequency: 15340, Meter-band 19, Daily on-air starting (2:30 local time/8:30 pm)
Mobile Application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de…