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Reuters' Aaron Maasho lied about Eritrea's Zereseney Tadese

Aaron Maasho, an Ethiopian reporter for Reuters, wrote a false and slanderous report about Zersenay Tadese and Eritrea

This tweet below, which was made by a person masquerading as Zeresenay Tadese, is all it took for a controversial Ethiopian journalist, who has a history of slandering Eritrea in the press, to spread misinformation about the seven-time Eritrean gold medalist.

Aaron Maasho, who is a controversial Ethiopian journalist working for the Reuters news agency in Addis Ababa, recently wrote a false article about Zersenay Tadese, after an unverified Twitter account pretending to be him said his relative was held captive in Sinai for ransom. Although Aaron deleted his article within a few hours of publishing it on the Africa section of Reuters' website, the damage was already done.

It is highly unusual for journalists to take the comments of an unverified Twitter account and publish an article, especially on one of the largest media platforms in the world. Such blatant disregard for even the minimum ethics of journalism raises a number of questions, including whether Aaron is abusing his position at Reuters to shape a negative and distorted perception of Eritrea in the media, a country his autocratic Ethiopian regime is at odds with.

Indeed, many Eritreans questioned Aaron's dubious source. Salem Solomon, a reporter from Tampa, took to Twitter to ask why he didn't provide a secondary source or an interview for his claim, which is what credible journalists are obligated to do.

Earlier on Saturday morning, Bealfan T. Haylean, another Eritrean journalist, who is affiliated with the Bloomberg news agency and is a longtime critic of Eritrea, said he had spoken to Zeresenay over the phone, who allegedly told him he had no relatives kidnapped in Sinai, Egypt.

But here is where the story takes a different twist that really makes you want to shake your head. A day after Bealfan claimed to have spoken with Zeresenay, another Eritrean (Milena Bereket), who lives in Eritrea and has a track record of being a credible source, said she had also spoken with Zeresenay and he told her it was the first time he had heard of this false story. This raises another serious question: did Bealfan makeup his claim of talking to Zeresenay? It certainly appears to be that way.

By this point, the circumstantial evidence was mounting against Bealfan. It was obvious to Eritreans and observers, that Bealfan likely made it all up. He was also becoming more defensive and agitated on Twitter as the day progressed. Even though Bealfan is is associated with EYSC, an Ethiopian-backed criminal organization, this still doesn't explain his motives for pretending to have spoken with Zeresenay.

According to some Eritreans, Bealfan is allegedly behind the impersonation of Zeresenay on Twitter. They allege his motives for impersonating him and tweeting his relative is being held captive in Sinai for ransom, was done to politicize and bring attention to economic migrants who are being held captive by their Bedouin smugglers in Egypt.

While these claims are purely speculative at the moment, i'm sure whoever is found to be behind this hoax, he or she likely did not imagine their false tweet would receive the attention of any news agency; let alone one of the largest in the world. But with Aaron working for Reuters, anything is possible, so long if it is a negative and false story about Eritrea, of course.

As a final point, it is absurd to believe that an Ethiopian, who lives in one of the most repressive states in the world, can independently report on issues in his country and region without the risk of his draconian regime throwing him in prison. After all, this is a regime that has forced over 79 journalists to flee their country - the highest total in the world. To pretend Aaron is not toeing the regime's line is an insult to every thinking person's intelligence.

So what should we do now? 

The only thing to do now is to write to Reuters and request Aaron Maasho to be removed from his position. At the very least, he should be prohibited from writing about Eritrea and Ethiopia due to his obvious conflict of interest.

Related reading: "Identity theft of Zeresenay Tadese, Eritrean Olympian"

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Reuters' Aaron Maasho lied about Eritrea's Zereseney Tadese Reviewed by Admin on 7:28 PM Rating: 5


  1. As a journalist, Aaron Maasho is an utter joke. People are tired of seeing him spread negative disinformation about Eritrea and Eritreans. Even Hitler had nicer things to say about the Jews than Aaron does about Eritrea. Reuters needs to stop tarnishing its name and fire this pseudo-journalist. How many more slanderous articles will it take from this guy before they get the memo that he has a political agenda against Eritrea?

  2. Lets start a petition drive to demand Reuters fire the weyane mole in their midst. It's unfair that the real journalist Eskinder Nega is languishing in lice and rat infested dungeon on trumped-up charges, while the tabloid journalist Aaron Maasho is given free reign by the oppressive regime to build his office above the dungeon and make a mockery of journalism.

  3. I agree totally with you.....we need to act opposite such unethical journalism.

  4. Bealfan T. Hayle clearly got caught lying and shamelessly tried to defend his lie instead of owning up to it like a man. Is this guy really affiliated with Bloomberg news? It's like they're hiring anyone off the street these days, so long as they swear an oath to defame Eritrea and Eritreans. I wouldn't be surprised if Aaron Maasho and Bealfan planned out this whole fake tweet thing.

    Aaron's article has to be the silliest thing I've seen a reporter base his 'source' on, ever. How can Reuters allow this man to diminish their name and brand? It's like Reuters outsourced its East African news department to the Ethiopian Foreign Minister's office. Fire Aaron, enough is enough!

    I hope Zeresenay sues Reuters' for emotional stress put on his family and friends. These sick individuals need to be prosecuted.

  5. It is mind-numbing how many times Aaron Maacho has gotten away with lying about Eritrea. Both Aaron and Bealfan have no moral compasses.

  6. Thanks brother for this info and we must pickup this little Weynane fm his on so callad Journalist to Routers.He is an evil subhuman Ethiopian.

  7. Sparke him from his place as Journalist and let him to work to the regim of junta in Ethiopia.

  8. Where is Dawit Isaac? Where is Jashua?

  9. Is there any proff for all this though? I mean, its all twitter.

  10. Ask to Swedish they have more known than we Eritrean and it was their fault where they are now Giovanni/Brother/.They sent by them under they are their protctores and they ask us why we had have them and keeping in jail.Edaward fm USA leaked only little tip evil state department game but Dawit and Fissaha tired to sale out our heroes land Eritrea just a few more dollar.

  11. Hey media of the world,I went u understand this....aron masho is simply advancing the notorious wayane agenda than balanced equation news.However the news agency of whom ever he work for must have to remove from his post in order to save the integrity of quality media.thank you Aguma Bayissa from Atlanta Georgia.


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