With love, a biweekly letter, from the crew of Eritrea Profile to the people of Eritrea and the world.
On March 1994 the first issue of the only English newspaper in Eritrea, Eritrea Profile, was published and remains to be a memorable day in the recollections of many. Eritrea Profile was launched to serve as a profile of Eritrea, its people and its history. Its aim was to introduce Eritrea to the outside world, which knew little about it. And when times changed, today, Eritrea Profile has upgraded its objectives beyond giving a profile of the country to counter the widely spread unjust narratives about Eritrea and its people. With an electronic readership of at least 80000 per issue Eritrea Profile has a wide reception.
We talk to one of its founders and its former editor-in-chief, who gave it its name, Mr Kiflom Adgoy, a Senior Editor.
- Because you are one of the founders of Eritrea Profile it is an honour to have you here with us on the newspaper’s 25th anniversary.
Thank you for having me and thank you for your time. On this special occasion I’d like to pass my greetings to the staff of Eritrea Profile and its readers. My name is Kiflom Adgoy and I am a senior editor. In former days I served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Ethiopian Herald, the national daily of Ethiopia. I worked there for over ten years and when Eritrea got its Independence, I moved back to the homeland and immediately joined the then newly established Eritrean Ministry of Information in the first week of January 1994. Alongside my colleagues we put forward the idea of launching a weekly English newspaper which at that time was absent.
Therefore, with Abinet Issaias, first editor-in-chief of Eritrea Profile, we worked in creating an English newspaper and then together saw its debut on the first of March 1994.
- What were the objectives of Eritrea Profile at the time of its launch?
The aim was to project a precise image of Eritrea to the outside world so that there would be a righteous source of information to whoever wishes to get acquainted with Eritrea. I take due pride in its launching because, as the name of the paper suggests, giving a profile of Eritrea is what the paper was and is all about. I honoured the task. It was so at the beginning and it is still moving forward with the same aim to this day thanks to you, our young journalists, who have understood the aim of the newspaper, your newspaper, and are working diligently towards projecting the right profile of Eritrea throughout all times.
- Thank you! Can you please tell us what the early days of Eritrea Profile were like?
At the beginning Abinet served as the editor-in-chief and me as deputy. The beginning was humble. We started with a small staff and had few columns. By the day the readership of the newspaper grew and likewise our working radius expanded one step at a time. In the subsequent years I took on the editor’s role which lasted from 1998 up to 2004. Like I said the mission of Eritrea Profile was, and stands still, to project the correct image of Eritrea and we proceeded, of course, on this way.
- How do you remember your days working for Eritrea Profile?
I remember them with due pride. As the sole English newspaper the task is great. To give the right image of the country to a world that had limited knowledge about Eritrea was a task that the staff and I embarked on gracefully. Back then, when our country first got its freedom, telling the history of our people and the heavy sacrifices we paid for our Independence, rightfully, felt like an enormous duty.
I believe that to this day Eritrea Profile has played its due role in giving righteous information about the on goings in Eritrea. So, I treasure my days in Eritrea Profile with pride. Moreover, how you, our young ones, are running the newspaper today makes me even more proud as I feel like the original task is being achieved with every issue.
- Mr Kiflom, still, you kept on contributing in the making of the newspaper in several ways. You even edited the news for us and from time to time shared your opinion related to our work. For this reason it is easy to say that you have been alongside Eritrea Profile, one way or another, for most of its part. How do you feel about being around for so long?
The merit goes to you, the young staff of Eritrea Profile, as you always strive to make your newspaper worth being printed and distributed. I feel happy that my humble contributions on and off are appreciated. I am happy to be helpful. What I admire most of the newspaper is that the spirit of optimism always prevails in how you conduct your journalism. Certainly, it must be a heavy task to counter wrong information spread through foreign news outlets. However, Eritrea Profile, thanks to its staff, still manages to pawn those incorrect sources of information by serving as a truthful editorial.
- In your opinion, what are the areas in which Eritrea Profile needs to improve?
The question of deploying sufficient manpower to upgrade the standard of this important paper remains not fully accomplished to this very day. You, the young people, should look forward to mobilizing all possible resources to upgrade the quality of the newspaper.
- Anything you would like to say at the end?
I want to thank the current staff of Eritrea Profile for your hard work. I do understand the difficulties you might face and so I would like to encourage you to do more and work persistently for the betterment of the newspaper and, above all, to give an accurate profile of Eritrea. Greetings to the readers of Eritrea Profile and the Eritrean people! Congratulations!