Addis Ababa (PP News Desk) — Online ‘activists’ seemingly loyal to the Ethiopian government have begun to harass Professor Ktejil Tronvoll, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Bjorknes University College in Norway, who visited Tigray as an election observer in September.
After the civil war broke out in Ethiopia last week, Professor Tronvoll has been one of a handful of scholars sharing nuanced views on the war that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared on the Tigray region.
The ‘activists’ described Professor as a “TPLF strategist” when his tweets reflect the need for de-escalation.
The Ethiopian government has embarked on an online campaign to silence scholars through unfair complaints to Twitter in a bid to have critics’ accounts suspended, and through other forms of intimidation and vituperation against non-Ethiopian scholars and analysts.
“Whoever thought a person who won a Nobel Peace Prize a year ago will turn a deaf ear to calls for de-escalation and negotiation? Ethiopian trolls against objectivity have no sense of shame” said one Ethiopian human rights activist in Addis Ababa who views the war against Tigray as an attempt to wage an unjust war against Ethiopian citizens who exercised their rights to elect a regional administration.
Analysts and journalists have come out in support of Professor Ktejil.
“Relaying information is not support. Analysis is not support. Please stand up and defend @KjetilTronvoll against this smear from Teshome” tweeted William Davison, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.
“@KjetilTronvoll is a highly respected researcher on #Ethiopia. Debating his ideas and thoughts is ok, in line with freedom of speech, smear campaigns is NOT. Everyone should defend academics who are dedicating their lives to provide us accurate knowledge” tweeted Sébastien Németh, Radio France Internationale correspondent in Africa.
This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2020 and is republished with permission