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Purveying Disinformation: What is Really Going?

Gianluca Mezzofiore is working with the so-called "opposition" to destabilize Eritrea through disinformation and slander in the media. Please report this anti-Eritrea activist posing as a journalist to the IPSO.

Purveying Disinformation: What is Really Going?
Ray Ja Fraser

Another day has brought about yet more far-fetched rumors and outlandish claims regarding Eritrea. This time, it was alleged that the Eritrean government plagiarized parts of its statement in response to the recent Commission of Inquiry (COI) report, essentially copying a statement from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (recall that while the COI report was widely covered by the mainstream press, and has led to a substantial amount of discussion regarding Eritrea, it has also come in for considerable criticism, with several detailed articles rebutting different parts of the report, available here: 1 , 23, and 4).   

As has become customary with coverage on Eritrea, the allegations of plagiarism were quickly spread across social media, accompanied by sensationalist or negative headlines. Again, much of the early dissemination was conducted by fake online accounts, generally referred to as “sock puppets.” This strategy focuses on artificially stimulating online buzz, while trying to make it appear to be a spontaneous, grassroots trend. Mass tweeting and retweeting of messages not only helps generate attention and spread (mis)information, it also cycles the information to a wider audience (e.g. as a “top tweet”). Increasingly, sock puppets and fake accounts have been utilized for political, marketing, propaganda, and military purposes. Notably, the employment of fake accounts using negative headlines or false rumors has been used against Eritrea in the past, most (in)famously during the January 2013 “Forto” incident (covered in detail here).

Then all of a sudden, amidst the laughing, snickering, and accusatory finger wagging, came the truth. The Eritrean government did not plagiarize the statement and, according to the United Nations (UN), they (the UN) had made the errors. Now ask yourself some basic questions. If you were an objective journalist or genuine human rights advocate, wouldn’t you clarify facts before penning and disseminating stories? If your report was found to be riddled with blatant, significant errors or contradictions, wouldn’t you rush to clarify or correct these? Whatever happened to truth, neutrality, honesty, authenticity, validity, factuality, professionalism, integrity, and other high-standing principles?

Instead, today’s false allegations, and the ongoing clichéd reports, rumors, and broader narrative on Eritrea display, in crystal clear view, the poor state of reporting and understanding about Eritrea, and they highlight many of the worst habits of journalism, media, academia, and activism.

More importantly however, the rumors underscore that the focus is not on human rights or humanitarianism but, as ever, is firmly set upon destabilization, disinformation, delegitimization, and ultimately, “pinning down Eritrea.” It is quite telling that the allegations of plagiarism originated from an “advocate” at the Human Rights Council (HRC), a journalist based in the United Kingdom, Gianluca Mezzofiore, and several individuals who have staunchly worked for aggressive regime change in Eritrea. These facts raise important questions. As a journalist, how objective can Mezzofiore be when he has been part of a team with an acknowledged mandate for regime-change in Eritrea (e.g. image 1)? Additionally, what is the exact involvement of the supposed HRC advocate; was the error-ridden document simply an editing mistake or was it a deliberate instance of diplomatic sabotage? Why did these individuals quickly (and apparently in coordinated fashion) focus on and disseminate an error-ridden document, when the original statement is and has been publically available for weeks? If serious allegations such as plagiarism can later be laughed-off as “simple errors”, what and how many other allegations may end-up similarly baseless? Will these many “questionable facts” and blatant inconsistencies be addressed or will they simply be labelled as the fanciful, far-reaching “conspiracy theories” of “regime sympathizers and trolls”?

Ultimately, this latest episode raises more critical questions and offers further damning evidence regarding the legitimacy and credibility of the original COI report and its entire process. With Eritrea’s continued economic growth and tangible, positive development outcomes, the country’s opponents and regime-change proponents know that the government will maintain the support of the vast majority of the population. In such a case, opponents’ only recourse is to attempt to destabilize the government in order to prompt foreign intervention or domestic unrest. Simply, as Eritrea continues to swim and not sink, expect to see more disinformation…don’t fall for it!


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Purveying Disinformation: What is Really Going? Reviewed by Admin on 12:17 PM Rating: 5


  1. This make me happy. Yes, the vast majority of the population is behind our government. We are survivals! We will continue to swim until we reach our destination. Thank you for sharing this amazing info.

  2. This stupid B*tch..... it was fun while it lasted??? it was fun while it lasted? are you serious? Shes killing hundreds of kids trafficking and trying to make our country look like libya and iraq and this is just a game to this piece of shit?

    This is who we are dealing with. These soulless zombies who have made a living off of migrants misery and now are having "fun" with it?? She is skating on VERY thin ice as it is. She doesn't need to aggravate Eritreans.

  3. The trend is clear. We are leaving the ground and looking at the blue sky. The question for every Eritrean is what should be done to sustain the country by not repeating our agony for the last 24 years.

  4. This hidden "gaff" will teach all honest Eritreans about this architecture designed on us, they forget we pass, hundreds of obstacle and paid thousands of Martyrs to get what we have, and they want spoil on our "zefan" and put some PUPPET.
    Never, now as ever the youth in and in the diaspora is more aware about this sell outs and cowards "leqabt"..
    Our path is full of this bunch cowards, and as usual will be defeated (just look history)
    Our vision will lead our actions,
    Our motto is "Lemàt B Tsenàt"
    Our struggle is continuous,
    Our victory is certain.

    Glory to our Martyrs
    Awet Egel Rehib Gebil.

  5. ኣሌክ - Alec youJuly 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    This Fucking Whore...mudblood, it was fun while it lasted??, She-Meron and gual tore serawit Selam-kidane, are killing the youth. and she said it was fun while it lasted?? and she smiled :-)

    This Bitch deserves a shank in her kidneys!!!

  6. This guy either he is working for a secret organisations or he is apaid by woyanes to tranish Eritrea he had no clue what eritrea look like normally he is etalian he would have known eritrean strugle and history but he is mercenary

  7. Hi, Madote I want to ask you a favour would you please do an interview for Ermias G. The writer for WHy I LEFT THE ERITREAN OPPOSITION on broad because he knows all about selam k & meron S. About the sunction every thing what is all behind this from mekele. All eritreans deserve to know the truth. Thanks!

  8. Eritreans should no ignored your asinine allegation. It is more of fantasy hype attitude to
    accuse MOI off plagiarism by posting fabricated allegation that proliferated on the internet
    and get amplified by unrealistic social media like BBC, AL JAZEERA etc but to no avail.
    As often, you have lost your manner. You are running around like chicken with its head cut off.
    Your luck of journalistic ethics justifies you that you are for the sake of your egocentric tendency to think
    yourself as superhero. What you really do, however, is resembles little chiwawa dog who, as soon
    as anything whats ever move, start up a laud barking.

  9. United Nations admits fault in Eritrea/North Korea plagiarism embarrassment

    By Gianluca MezzofioreJuly 1, 2015 15:23 BST

    The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has admitted making a error by publishing a letter on its official website from the Eritrean government containing two paragraphs copied from an earlier North Korean statement.

    The letter was in response to a 484-page report of the council about Eritrea's "systematic and gross" human rights violations, which may amount to crimes against humanity.

    The Eritrean mission called the report "totally unfounded and devoid of all merit" and dismissed the accusations of human rights violations as "a continuation and escalation of politically motivated campaign to undermine the political, economic and social progress the country is making".

    After accusing the US of setting up a "human rights racket", the letter included a statement with reference to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea:

    "The moves of the hostile forces to dare provoke the socialist system of the DPRK which was chosen and has been consolidated by the Korean people will not be able to escape disgraceful doom."

    The human rights council spokesman Rolando Gomez told IBTimes UK that the reference to the North Korean dictatorship "was indeed an error committed by the UN Secretariat in processing this Human Rights Council document".

    He added: "The corrected version will be on-line soon."

    A quick search showed that the original statement was published in February by the DPRK spokesman for the foreign ministry in reference to a conference held in Washington about human rights violations in North Korea.

    Eritrea and North Korea are the first and second most-censored countries according to a list compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists.


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