Disinformation in Tigray: Manufacturing Consent For a Secessionist War (Summarized Report)

TPLF leader Sebhat Nega captured by Ethiopian National Defense Forces on January 8, 2021. (Courtesy: Ethiopian News Agency)

Following many requests from academics, diplomats and the general public for a shortened version of the 72-page Disinformation in Tigray report, New Africa Institute publishes today an 18-page, summarized edition that recapitulates the popular publication while focusing on the most salient points of the report.

The summarized edition, like the parent report, provides an evidence-based analysis of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, which is an irredentist, ethnic secessionist war led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) against the multiethnic federal government.

Although the Tigray conflict officially started on November 4, 2020 after TPLF, by its own admission, attacked the federal government’s Northern Command based in Tigray, this showdown had been brewing for decades. Since the start of hostilities, there has been an explosion of disinformation in the mainstream and social media. This report carefully analyzes the causes and methods of disinformation propagation. Ultimately, the disinformation serves to manufacture consent for an unpopular irredentist, ethnic secessionist war that could not be justified in the eyes of the international public through honest reporting.

The media, non-governmental organizations and Western governments have forwarded a number of allegations of crimes upon the people of Tigray perpetrated by the Ethiopian and Eritrean militaries. Eritrea has served as the primary scapegoat. Much of the reporting of these crimes, devoid of evidence and context, has proven sensational and racist with savage-like portrayals of Eritreans and Ethiopians that draw on old colonial tropes of Africans. This report looks beyond the gaudy headlines and provides sober, evidence-based analysis of the major allegations. Significant focus is given to social media as most disinformation about Tigray originates there.

Additionally, this report assesses the nature of and problems with Western media’s overall coverage of the Tigray conflict. Lastly, it provides analysis of the actions by Western governments and likely consequences of those actions to encourage better policy decisions in the Horn of Africa moving forward.




Providing research and analysis to create a New Africa of collective peace, prosperity and progress.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Misjudged remedy : What is unworkable is made to work

Development Policy & Liberal Democracy

Digital Media and Crisis Situations

Morning Coffee #38: Crime and Nourishment… aka Let Them Have National Cake

Why freedom of numbers matters

British troops in Somalia: What you need to know

In Pictures: Exercise Hedgehog 🦔

A stationary Challenger 2 tanks

Are Sweden and Finland against joining NATO? It’s not that simple

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
New Africa Institute

New Africa Institute

Providing research and analysis to create a New Africa of collective peace, prosperity and progress.

More from Medium

The Life and Mysterious Disappearance of the True Father Of Cinematography.

Pros And Cons Of Biostasis aka Cryonics

The Every: a reactive review

Can Chancellor Scholz Save the West? The New German Government and Global Geopolitics