The word ‘Yabele’ – ‘ያበለ’ refers to one of the indigenous cultural concepts of communication systems of the society of Tigray in North Ethiopia, 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 is an independent media organization with an online and TV presence on Horn Broadcasting Services (HBS). Yabele was established in March 2021 as Axumite Media Ltd. staffed with 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 etc., 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 Tigrigna, Amharic, and English languages.
The journalists working at Yabele Media have personal tragedies and difficult times to remember; they escaped arrest and/or persecution, as most worked in media institutions in Addis Ababa or Tigray. Now, they work virtually as a team, some based in Tigray, Kenya, South Africa, and others in Europe. Its administration and registration are also from Munich, Germany.
Yabele Media was originally producing content intending to uncover atrocities, massacres, and the destruction 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, provided content from March to October 2021 in the Tigrigna language for Radio Wegahta Tigray, a community radio registered in the USA, reaching out to the rural people in Tigray. Yabele’s team 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 programs at 15340 frequency, 19-meter band, starting at 8:30 pm in Tigray until February 2022.
Now, Yabele Media is present online and on Horn Broadcasting Service (HBS TV) on satellite: Yahsat, Frequency: 12073, Polarization: Vertical, and Symbol Rate: 27500.
The goals of Yabele Media are to provide impartially verified information and add clarity to otherwise known and obvious issues for its target audience currently experiencing a genocidal civil war. Amid highly partisan framing of information, false propaganda, and ambiguity on many issues, whether current or historical, Yabele aims to become a credible source of information and clarity that people can rely on to make informed decisions.
This applies at three levels:
Yabele seeks to uncover atrocities, massacres, rape, and human rights violations, reporting on the ramifications of the ongoing genocidal war against the people of Tigray and beyond.
Setting Agendas for the Future:
The organization aims to set agendas conducive to peace and negotiation, advocating for a lasting political settlement. It strives to add clarity on what is essential for the future of the people of Tigray and prepares the public for the post-war period of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
The Universal Media Roles:
Yabele recognizes the role that media and journalism can play even in abnormal and challenging times. It aspires to be among the top credible sources of information, providing impactful content for education, entertainment, and cultural expression. Furthermore, Yabele aims to serve as a safeguard for public accountability, transparency, and freedom of expression, facilitating healthy discourse. Thus, it contributes to strengthening the values of democracy, ensuring predictable institutional functioning, and fostering just communities.
News and Analysis (ዜና፣ ሓተታ): are daily programs defining the media type as news media.
Yabele Focus (ኣድህቦ ያበለ): runs three times a week, focusing on reviews and discussions of different media’s portrayal of Tigray, Ethiopia, and beyond, measured by impact and proximity to the target audience.
Clarity (ንፅረት): a program twice a week that aims to clarify and counter false narratives, perceptions built on false premises, distortions, prejudice, negative stereotypes, etc., by providing new information, alternative, and fresh perspectives. It also serves as a platform where the team fights against disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech.
Entertainment (ጠዓሞት): a weekly entertainment program exploring various creative works and cultural expressions. During this period, it focuses on alleviating the depression, stress, pain, and sorrow of people in the war zone and beyond.
Agenda (ፍኖት): a twice-a-week program focusing on setting agendas relevant to the people of Tigray, Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa. It advocates new demands, embraces changes, and challenges obstacles and resistance. Until the war and its fresh pains are over, it seeks to understand the real causes of the war and opens discussions to offer a lasting solution accordingly.
Interviews (ሕሪያ): It is a twice-a-week program where selected interviews on current issues are conducted.
Yabele Media Editorial Policy
1. Mission and Objectives:
Yabele Media is dedicated to providing accurate, impartial, and impactful information to its audience. It aligns with a media that seeks to bring clarity to issues, narratives, and agendas of significance. Our motto, “Yabele for Clarity!” encapsulates our commitment to fostering understanding through complete, contrasting, transparent and enlightening content.
Our objective is to serve as a reliable source of news, analysis, and edutainment. We strive to create clarity on recurring issues and set agendas that contribute to the understanding and well-being of the people in Tigray, Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa, as well as the associated diaspora and anyone interested or claiming a stake in the region’s societies.
2. Independence and Autonomy:
Yabele Media operates independently of external influences, including political pressures and financial interests, to maintain editorial integrity and impartiality.
3. Community-Centric Approach:
We actively engage with our audience, considering their feedback and concerns, and aim to represent the diverse perspectives within our community.
Accuracy and Verification: Yabele Media ensures accuracy and credibility by adhering to rigorous fact-checking processes before publishing any content. Verification of information is a non-negotiable aspect of our reporting.
Impartiality and Fairness: Our journalists maintain impartiality, ensuring fairness and balance in presenting news, analysis, and opinions. All perspectives are considered, and efforts are made to avoid bias.
Independence in Reporting: Journalists at Yabele Media maintain independence in their reporting, steering clear of undue influence and external pressures that could compromise the quality of their work.
Creativity and Technology Usage: The organization encourages creativity in presentation and technology usage. Innovation is embraced in storytelling, design, and delivery, provided it aligns with our commitment to accuracy and ethical standards.
Diversity Policy: Yabele Media actively promotes diversity in its workforce and content. It seeks to amplify underrepresented voices and perspectives in its reporting.
Professional Development: Yabele Media is committed to fostering the professional development of its journalists, ensuring they stay updated on best practices, industry standards, and emerging technologies in the media landscape.
Conflict of Interest: Journalists at Yabele Media must disclose any potential conflicts of interest that could compromise their objectivity. Avoidance of conflicts and the appearance of conflicts is crucial in maintaining trust with our audience.
Use of Social Media Accounts: Journalists are expected to use social media responsibly, refraining from expressing personal opinions that could compromise their perceived impartiality. They should adhere to Yabele Media’s standards in their personal online spaces, too.
Sourcing and Handling: Yabele Media emphasizes responsible sourcing, ensuring that information is obtained from credible and reliable sources. Journalists are expected to handle information ethically, respecting the confidentiality of sources when required.
Privacy: Respect for individuals’ privacy is paramount. Yabele Media ensures that its reporting does not infringe on personal privacy rights without a clear public interest.
Language and Tone: Yabele Media adheres to a high standard of language usage. The tone in reporting and commentary should be respectful and unbiased, avoiding inflammatory or discriminatory language.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. Journalists are expected to attribute sources appropriately and give credit to the original creators of content.
Correcting Errors: Yabele Media is committed to transparency. If errors are identified in our reporting, corrections are promptly made and communicated to the audience.
Intrusion in Grief or Shock: Yabele Media exercises sensitivity in reporting on matters involving grief or shock. Intrusion into the private moments of individuals during vulnerable times is strictly avoided.
Conclusion: This detailed editorial policy is designed to guide the conduct of journalists at Yabele Media in adherence to institutional principles, professional standards, and ethical values. Regular training and updates will be provided to ensure a consistent commitment to these guidelines.
Journalists and Contributors
Woldegiorgis Ghebrehiwot Teklay, founder and Managing Director of Yabele Media, oversees the media’s operations from Munich, Germany, where he is pursuing a PhD in Media Anthropology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). With over 13 years of experience in journalism, corporate communication management, and media education, he has worked in online, print, and broadcast media outlets.
Woldegiorgis has managed communication initiatives in academic and non-academic settings, teaching courses such as journalism, public relations, advertising media planning, communications, media management, and media research methodology at the university level. His academic background includes studies in Journalism and Communication, Anthropology, Art and Politics, Human Security and Governance in Africa, and Teaching Profession/Pedagogy.
Dawit Haileyesus Hailemariam
Dawit is a Production and Administration Manager at Yabele Media. He handles all kinds of graphic designing, audio-visual editing, directing, and recording from Nairobi. In addition, he is responsible for administrative burdens, including deadline follow-up, resource allocation, and reporting.
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 ten years of experience in production management, directing, audio-video editing, and graphic design. Dawit studied information technology, 3D Max, camera operation, mass media & communication, and marketing management.
Teshager is a Content Manager and Producer at Yabele Media. He manages assignments, provides support, and oversees the final content.
With four years of experience as a university lecturer, human rights activist, and defender, he taught courses such as constitutional law, human rights torts, property law, and banking, along with classes related to civil rights.
In addition to his role at Yabele Media, Teshager serves as an executive member and legal team coordinator of Seb Hidri Civil Society in Tigray, where 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.
Amare Teklay is a Program Producer at Yabele Media. He is also responsible for curating content for the media’s digital platforms. Additionally, he guides project proposals to secure funding and promotes partnerships with other organizations.
Amare holds a PhD in Economics and is proficient in software development. Before his role at Yabele Media, he was a postdoctoral researcher for two and a half years at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
Yabele on HBS Satellite TV.
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