The Oromia Media Network (OMN) is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news enterprise whose mission is to produce original and citizen-driven reporting on Oromia, the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia. OMN seeks to offer thought-provoking, contextual, and nuanced coverage of critical public interest issues thereby bringing much needed attention to under-reported stories in the region. Our goal is to create a strong and sustainable multilingual newsroom that will serve as a reliable source of information about the Oromo people, the Ethiopian state, and the greater Horn of Africa region.
We hold ourselves to the highest journalistic standards but unabashedly and proudly offer a uniquely Oromo perspective. We also aim to connect the growing Oromo diaspora to its homeland using innovative digital tools and people-centered storytelling techniques. Our high quality, high-impact multimedia content will be available in easily accessible formats including on the web, mobile devices, social media, satellite television and radio.
The Ethiopian government or individuals close to the ruling party, own and control nearly all newspapers, radios and TV stations in the country. The government of Ethiopia continues to suppress freedom of expression and speech. It has shut down all independent newspapers in Oromo language and those tending to address unique concerns of the Oromo people. As a result, despite being the official language of the Oromia region, not a single independent newspaper is published in Afaan Oromo. Neither are there independently run radio or television stations broadcasting in one of Africa’s most widely spoken languages with over 40 million native speakers.
Ethiopia also criminalizes critical debates and all other forms of dissent. Private newspapers inside the country face immense pressures to self-censor. The diaspora-based blogs have sought to close the gap by offering critical commentary as well as advocacy for press freedom in that country. However, the blogosphere has its own flaws in objectively reporting the events on the ground. Ultimately, when it comes to media, the Oromo and other people in Ethiopia face two stark choices: state-controlled media that produces propaganda as the ruling party’s mouthpiece or the anti-government opposition media disseminating partisan polemics.
Thus, fresh, independent, and forward-looking media outlets must kick start the conversations needed to ensure that there is room for robust and substantive discussion on general matters of public interest. Hence, OMN aspires to transcend the preoccupation with political news and cover everyday human stories in their multidimensional diversity – including business, education, politics, travel, science, technology, environment, sports, and arts and culture.
Through factual, evenhanded and quality reporting, OMN is committed to closing this gap by promoting civic discourse and fostering community engagement around social justice issues, press freedom, human rights, democracy, community health, family and children welfare.
HOW IT IS FUNDED
We believe high-quality journalism is a rare public good, a basic human right, and the pillar of free and democratic society. We hope to fund OMN through voluntary donations, targeted advertising, and external grants. We invite all who believe in the importance of public service media to support and sustain our work.
OMN is a U.S. based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, licensed under the Federal Communications Commission. OMN is governed by a Board of Trustees, an Executive Council, and an independent editorial team made up of professional journalists.
For more information please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 612-294-6770.