Last month, a joint undercover investigation by the Bureau and Newsnight revealed sickening human rights abuses and the systematic misuse of aid by the Ethiopian government.
The response from officials working for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to the investigation was as expected: a vitriolic attack on our journalism with accusations of impartial reporting promoting the views of terrorists.
However, it is the response of the British government that causes more disquiet.
Last night Newsnight aired another piece following several further developments suggesting a crackdown by the Ethiopian government on opposition members as well as people believed to have contributed to our report.
Answering the charges
The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell appeared on the programme to answer the allegation that DFID has turned a blind eye to these abuses by continuing to provide millions of pounds in aid to Ethiopia.
It started well with the secretary of state saying that the programme aired serious allegations that need to be answered, and that he would personally raise them with Prime Minister Zenawi and his officials, pressing for an open and independent investigation. These are grave allegations concerning atrocious human rights abuses and the systemic misuse of aid – British taxpayers’ money – for political purposes. It doesn’t get more serious than this.
It was what followed that smacks of obfuscation. Mr Mitchell’s opening gambit was that no British development support goes through the Ethiopian government, giving the impression that our aid was in safe hands.