ASSENNA PEOPLE’S MEDIA PROJECT – Get Involved (Originally Published in September, 2014)

ASSENNA PEOPLE’S MEDIA PROJECT Media by the People for the People   About Assenna: Founded by an Eritrean exiled journalist in the UK, in May 2007, Assenna is an independent, non-profit media organisation, working to promote freedom of


Media by the People for the People


About Assenna:

Founded by an Eritrean exiled journalist in the UK, in May 2007, Assenna is an independent, non-profit media organisation, working to promote freedom of expression and democracy in Eritrea. It is not affiliated to any political or non-political organisation.


Assenna broadcasts 24/7 satellite radio program and one hour, 3 days a week shortwave radio program to Eritrea and its neighbouring countries. It has an online radio streaming and a website


Assenna solely depends on its audience for (voluntary) financial contributions. Due to the open, inclusive and progressive media culture it has moulded since its inception a few years back, Eritreans both inside and outside the country have come to view it as one of the most relevant Eritrean media organizations currently focusing on their issues. On top of producing and disseminating original material, Assenna has succeeded in providing and maintaining a free and independent alternative forum for Eritreans. It generates interactive user content and prides itself for being a media outlet ‘for the people by the people’.




Assenna believes that neither justice nor democracy can exist where there is no freedom of expression. In addition, it believes that freedom of expression is crucial in building and consolidating a culture of tolerance, dialogue and peaceful co-existence. According to Assenna, citizens’ right to freedom of expression should be guaranteed: they should have the right to obtain, impart and disseminate as well as have the opportunity/choice/means to access information in the worldwide domain as part of their inalienable right to freely participate in events, processes and developments that affect their reality, their surroundings and beyond.


Independent and free media serves as an institution to promote transparency and accountability. Since Eritrea does not have a constitutional government, the existence of independent and free media plays a major role in validating the people, which is very much isolated from an entire universe in an information age. It can also facilitate fundamental democratic change.

The government of Eritrea’s policy to restrict flow of information and freedom of expression is against Assenna’s core values. As a media organization, it is determined to fill the information gap that has been created by the authoritarian state. Furthermore, it seeks to play a watchdog role by counterbalancing the state’s propaganda and by setting a democratic agenda that would ultimately contribute to a healthy debate, which very much depends on free flow of comprehensive and diverse information as well as interaction.

Beyond giving voice to the voiceless Eritreans, Assenna aspires to promote free yet accountable media practice that would lay the foundation for a genuine free press in post dictatorship Eritrea.


ASSENNA Specific Objectives:


  1. To advocate for the right to free expression in Eritrea and among Eritreans wherever they may be
  2. To relieve the Eritrean people from the state propaganda and manipulation, to offer them with an alternative voice too
  3. To raise public awareness among Eritreans regarding democratic values, human rights and political participation
  4. To foster democratic culture which accepts tolerance as a norm in an environment where diverse opinions are accommodated and to provide forums for transparency and accountability
  5. To facilitate democratic change in Eritrea as freedom of expression will not be able to survive in a politically hostile or undemocratic environment
  6. To lay a foundation for a genuine free press in Eritrea, both at policy and operational levels
  7. To carry out researches in order to promote free media practices along with an understanding that freedom comes with responsibility and that anyone who seeks to use that freedom needs to respect the freedom of others
  8. To keep Eritreans back home and Diaspora Eritreans connected, as well as be a communication bridge between a populace divided by geography and politics
  9. Providing Diaspora Eritreans a platform to contemplate upon the democratic values and political culture they may be taking for granted in their host countries and to convey relevant knowledge and experience to the people within their country of origin
  10. Exposing the political repression and human rights abuses the Eritrean people is subjected to by giving voice to the voiceless people and by providing committed citizens inside Eritrea access to a media organization which enables them to publish news, articles, stories and firsthand accounts directly
  11. To take the Eritrean cause on an international arena by making relevant news items as well as information available to the world and the international community


The People’s Media Project


The Eritrean people are oral society. Thus, radio remains the single most popular and accessible means of communicating with the people inside Eritrea. Because of its potential to get through to as many Eritreans as possible, in the last few years Assenna as a media organization has given priority to Radio Asena. According to firsthand accounts, Radio Asena has come to be known for its relevant news, articles, interviews, timely issues as well as clear messages. In addition to serving the Eritrean society as an alternative to the government dominated media, it has managed to build a bridge between Eritreans living inside and outside the country. On top of everything else, at this point, its name itself has become synonymous with principled stand and persistence.



Assenna has maintained its position as the most followed Eritrean websites for some years now and its radio program has secured a wider audience base, which includes inmates inside prison camps within Eritrea. However, it is an understatement when we say running Assenna Foundation has never been easy. Broadcasting (radio) is particularly almost impossible where there is shortage in funding. That is the reason our biggest challenge has always been and still remains to be securing the necessary financial resources to keep Radio Asena on air. Running a radio program on a voluntary and random public contribution basis is not sustainable. Therefore, a systematic and reliable means of public funding needs to be considered to maintain the service.


Plan of Action


  1. The main plan is to make the existing daily, 24/7 satellite radio transmission and one hour, 3 days a week Voice of Asena shortwave radio program sustainable.
  2. If adequate funding is secured, the shortwave radio program would broadcast daily.
  3. Once sustainability is guaranteed, programs would be broadcast in different languages starting with Arabic and Tigre.
  4. Maintaining the existing service and introducing necessary changes would also require strengthening Radio Assenna with staff.


The change is expected to raise the volume and quality of Asena Radio’s media out-put significantly. The audience is also expected to expand. Most significantly, incorporating other local language programs would enable Assenna to reflect the ethnic diversity of Eritreans and will make it more inclusive.


60 percent of material for radio would be original, reported/written/compiled by Radio ASSENNA staff and regular contributors or reporters. Occasionally, relevant news items would be translated into other languages. Around 40 percent of the content, however, will be generated by occasional contributions and audience participation or interactive channels. This will give listeners an opportunity to communicate and express themselves through the use of the radio, offering them tools to actively participate in the process of change. For this purpose, ASSENNA listeners will be encouraged to share their views by writing articles, interacting on’s listeners’ feedback box, or leaving their comments by phone on Assenna’s message box.


Funding: and Voice of Assenna would continue being open to readers and listeners.  Public announcements that are in line with its ethos will be published free of charge. However, private businesses would be required to pay a certain amount, if they happen to be interested in advertising their services or goods on Assenna.


Since it started broadcasting in February 2009, Voice of Asena transmission cost has always been covered by voluntary contributions from its audience. A few committed supporters who believed in the cause Assenna has been pursuing repeatedly donated an amount ranging from $10 to $3000 without expecting any personal rewards. Although their effort is often appreciated and acknowledged on Assenna radio shows; what these dedicated individuals, usually referred to as ‘Friends of Assenna’ value the most is, the moral satisfaction they get for doing their share in giving voice to their people which is being  suffocated by the dictatorial regime in Eritrea.


Even though Radio Asena keeps making random public announcements and calls for financial help from time to time, in general, Friends of Assenna are the ones who end up making generous donations every time. Whether they are in groups or as individuals they are the ones who keep it on air.


Assenna takes pride in being supported by members of the public, who passionately share its values and encourage it morally and financially in order to continue being a voice to the voiceless. As it considers maintaining its independence a prerequisite and since its audience is instrumental in that regard, Assenna has no other option but to depend on those financial contributions. However, systematic rearrangement of the funding model is needed.


Over the past five years, despite the fact that its audience has grown significantly, the number of donors has not shown proportional increase. The truth is a few dedicated individuals have been overburdened with the financial responsibility. Therefore, instead of letting a few go on making donations of large sums of money, Assenna would like to invite others to show willingness to share the burden. If a relatively large number of people were to contribute a small amount of money on a regular basis, those carrying the burden of sustaining Asena Radio financially would be relieved because they would be sharing the burden with many others. Furthermore, the volunteers who produce material for that radio would be able to focus on that taxing job rather than be half-hearted about where next month’s fare would be coming from. This kind of fund raising practice would ease the burden of everyone involved and it would ensure sustainability of Voice of Asena’s services. Moreover, it would provide with an opportunity to get as many people as possible involved in a media project which aspires to liberate the mentality of a society constrained by dictatorship.


In order to simplify the process and to indicate to the public how the media project could work, Assenna has come up with a chart that shows the major cities around the world with potential contributors (Friends of Assenna) and the minimum amount of money each supporter could possibly contribute. An online system linked to Assenna Foundation paypal account is also being designed to make the process easy as well as user/donor friendly.


Note: Donations could be made individually or in an organized manner, as is the case with Friends of Assenna groups.


When the system is established, Assenna would conduct special paltalk sessions with Friends of Assenna or their representatives regularly (Every 4 months), to discuss current affairs, to address relevant issues, to obtain their feedback as well as to assess the entire media project’s progress. One of the issues that keep being raised by Eritreans inside the country time and again has to do with setting up an independent television station. Depending on the outcome of the people’s media project, this very idea and similar other media projects would be some of the issues, which would be debated during the first Friends of Assenna meetings.


Friends of Assenna Coordinator Responsibilities

Friends of Assenna coordinator is a voluntary, on the ground representative of Assenna and a leader of the local Assenna support group in the city/neighbourhood s/he lives in


S/he is a bridge between Radio Asena and its audience as well as the wider Eritrean community in the local area


Assenna would recommend joint coordinators when possible, as they can share the work load while enjoying being part of a team


  • Depending on the size of Assenna audience in the city/neighbourhood, s/he will organise a group of friends of Assenna with at least 10 members as a minimum target
  • Campaigning Radio Asena listeners to become Friends of Assenna and encouraging them to contribute small amount of money in a regular basis, as a group or individually
  • Keeps Friends of Assenna records and follows up their contributions and relevant rewards, such as public acknowledgments, discounted or free media products which may be dispatched by Assenna as a Thank You!
  • Identifying volunteers to support Assenna media production efforts – as local reporters or Assenna staff
  • Shares his own suggestions or that of friends of Assenna and the audience in general with Assenna staff
  • Represents the local Friends of Assenna local support group in the regular general paltalk meetings


In big cities there could be more than one local support groups 


Success of the people’s media project depends on the people, especially on Friends of Assenna coordinators and members who are expected to volunteer and take a lead. They can fill out the relevant tables by contacting Assenna via email/telephone directly or by logging on and filling the online form. Friends of Assenna input and feedback is needed in order to enrich the People’s media project on the process.





UNITED KINGDOM – 40,000 (2008 Estimate)

 Major Cities Estimated  # of Eritreans Expected Friends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email PROGRESs
1. London 20,000  
2 Manchester    
3 Birmingham    
4 Leeds    
5 Liverpool    
6 Sheffield    
1 Scotland    
2 Wales    
3 N Ireland    


  • The UK estimate of the potential supporters is meant to give you an idea to work it out yourself to get the minimum number of supporters in your local area
  • Add your city if you think there are significant number of potential supporters
  • Volunteer to become friends of Assenna representative in your city; or get in touch with Assenna contact person in the nearest city/neighbourhood for membership
  • Remember, the system allows you to contribute any amount directly as an individual



   Major Cities Esttimated # of Eritreans Expected Friends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount Expected£10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Dublin Plus











   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans Expected Friends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Oslo    
2 Bergen    
3 Trondheim    
4 Stavanger    



   Major Cities Est.  # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Stockholm    
2 Goteborg    
3 Malmo    
4 Uppsala    





   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Berlin    
2 Hamburg    
3 Munich    
4 Koln    
5 Frankfurt    
6 Stuttgart    
7 Hanover    
8 Bonn    
9 Kassel    



   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Rome    
2 Milan    
3 Bologna    



   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Zurich    
2 Geneva    
3 Basel     
4 Bern    
5 Lausanne    


   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount £10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Amsterdam    
2 Rotterdam    
3 The Hague    
4 Utrecht    




 Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna Mon Min Amount Expected£10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Paris Plus




 Major Cities Est # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna Mon Min Amount Expected£10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Brussels  Plus



 Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna Monthly Minimum Amount Expected£10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Copenhagen  Plus





 Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna Monthly Minimum  Amount Expected$10 Contact Person Tel. Email
1 New York    
2 Los Angles    
3 San Diego    
4 San Jose    
5 San Francisco    
6 Oakland    
7 Houston
8 San Antonio
9 Dallas
10 Austin
11 Philadelphia 
12 Phoenix    
13 Indianapolis     
14 Miami    
15 Rolando    
16 Boston    
17 Cleveland    
18 Cincinnati    
19 Charlotte    
20 Detroit    
21 Memphis    
22 Nashville    
23 Seattle    
24 Vancouver    
25 Denver    
26 Washington    
27 Baltimore    
28 Portland    
29 Las Vegas    
30 Milwaukee    
31 New Mexico    
32 Virginia beach    
33 Atlanta    
34 Minneapolis    
35 Chicago    
36 New Orleans    
37 Aurora    
38 St Louis    
39 New ark    
40 Norfolk    
41 Richmond    


   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount $10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Toronto    
2 Montreal    
3 Vancouver    
4 Calgary    
5 Ottawa    
6 Edmonton    
7 Mississauga    
8 North York    
9 Winnipeg    
10 Quebec




   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount $10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Sydney     
2 Melbourne    
3 Brisbane    
4 Perth    
5 Adelaide    
6 Canberra    



   Major Cities Est. # of Eritreans ExpectedFriends ofAssenna MonthlyMinimum Amount $10 Contact Person Telephone Email
1. Dubai    
2 Abu Dhabi    
3 Riyadh    
4 Jeddah    
5 Cairo    
6 Tel Aviv    
7 Jerusalem    
8 Kampala    
9 Cape Town    
10 Johannesburg
11 Durban
12 Pretoria



Together we will make a difference!


With Your Support, the people’s media project will be a success!!

If YOU are INVOLVED, Dictatorship will be DISSOLVED!!!


Contact Assenna on or 00447908585811 to be Friends of Assenna coordinator in your city.




Click here to register Online: Friends of Assenna Online


Assenna Foundation


London, UK

Assenna People’s Media Project in PDF







Review overview
  • Dhab September 7, 2014

    Haben why don’t you mind your own business and go on defending your master isayas’s dictatorial ways either directly or directly? It is ironic that you would defend a dictator and demand transparency from the most transparent media.People like you are an insult to human intelligence.

  • Berhe September 7, 2014

    If you can’t see what Radio Asenna is doing in terms of transparency and media output you must be a pfdj spy sent to collect intelligence. Visit asenna and youtube or ask the Eritrean people inside to know what asenna is doing. Asenna’s efforts speak louder than your trash attempt to confuse people.

  • nati September 7, 2014

    Asena is doing an amazing job. keep it up guys. now that the writing on the wall about pfdj’s down fall has become bolder it is to be expected that all kinds of parasites would appear in various colors. one of them is called haben.

  • Haben September 7, 2014

    Instead of spewing insults, why not answer the simple question. What is Assenna’s budget? One needs to practice what they preach.

    • Berhe September 7, 2014

      Transparency? You should practice it first ‘Haben Qonjo’. How can you ask for transparency while using a pen name? If you have a clue of what your demands are, at least use your real name before everything else. By the way, the name ‘haben’ smells like the fake Facebook worrier who was engaged in a negative campaign against asenna just a month or so ago. Then the smell reached meshrefet net and the rest is history. I would particularly like to remind Asenna about the diversionary agenda of this nasty individual.

  • Truly Truly i say to you September 7, 2014

    The proposed plan is wonderful, despite it comes late. I wish we had it long time ago, by now we already had it TV canal like ESAT ( The Ethiopian opposition website.) But stile out not to late, in our Eritrean cooperative good culture to give aid for any honourable purpose, we can do and make it success.
    However i strong warn, those un constructive comments expanding and those who expand haters among oppositions websites like Berhe may unknowingly practising to stop. Because such expanding hatters neither helps for proposed people´s Media project to succeed , nor for our liberation struggle success, unless to strengthen the dictatorship.
    We know Meskerem as media sometimes as doing mistakes like any others media, however it has also its own unique strong side by bringing very relevant issues from all sides of the corner because enabling to inform us. In this aspect we have to find a way Medias how they unite and work comparatively, instead by siding we expand unnecessary concurrence among each other.
    For me anybody who practising that i would say either the person should be PFDJ agent for his known mision , or he should be born idiot by fighting each other who give opportunity to the common big enemy, or either who fighting for own honour, by using a media as its own property who liked to gain profit should be. Like in many churches specially the Pentecostal church pastors in name of expanding gospel they using it a church for personal pride and like personal commodity when purchasing observing. But everybody knows brother Amanuel Iyasu of Assenna, as not like others i criticized them. He is honest determined. Who honestly fighting for successful real change, for democracy and human right to see establish in Eritrea. So for success of this reliable project I encourage everyone with out if and but to do his best help what can. When there is a real motive, there is always a quick success! Because God loves honesty and always behind it.

  • wedi wedeba mushmush September 7, 2014

    This is the damn nature of the society, Haben asked a question , leave the answer to the assenna guys. No need to attack for asking a question. Assenna r doing better than most of the garbage websites, because of Amanuels real patriotism. I sticked with Amanuel after he visited shimeliba refugee center and his great effort to save Eritrean life. I am sure he has saved a lot from the hands of budewin. let support assenna, it sound better… divorce was after he posted woldu tekle and his garbage articles……

  • Mesinas September 8, 2014

    መሶብ ፍትሒ!

    እዛ መሶብ ፍትሒ *ሊሰዩም ኣሰና *ኣስተምህሮታት ዚወሃበሉ ፍሉይ ኣዳራሽ
    እዛ ደብተር ኩሉ’ወ ገላጺት ሓሳብና
    እዛ ልሳን ውጹዓት እተድምጽ ቃልና
    እዛ ሜዳ ቃልሲ ሰውራ ሓርነትና
    ኣጽዋር ከይጎድላ ዋልታ መኸተና
    እጃምና ከነወፊ ከም ዓቕሚ ጁባና
    ሕድሪ ትብል ኣላ ናይ ቃልሲ ደጀንና!

    ሃየ በሉ ኣሕዋት ሻማ ሻማ ንበል
    ድምጽና ቀጻሊ ከንጎድጉድ ብማዕበል
    ሓደራ ውፉያት ሎሚ ሓቦ ንበል
    ምልኪ ተነቒሉ ፍትሒ ንኺትከል
    ልደት ሓርነትና ኣብ ፎርቶ ኪጽንበል
    ፎርሳ ደቂ ዓደይ ኢደይ ኢድካ ንበል!

    ኣይኮነን ንኣሰና ንድምጺ ውጹዓት
    ንድሕነት ህዝብና ካብ ሕሰም ካብ ጥፍኣት
    ንህግደፍ እኳኒ ነዚ ኣጽናቲ ስርዓት
    2% ዝኸፍሉ ዘለዉ፡ ጸወርቲ መንድዓት!

    ንሕና ግዳ ንሓርነት፡ ንመሰልን ፍትሕን
    ህዝብናን ሃገርናን ካብ ጥፍኣት ከነድሕን
    ቊሩብ ወስ ንምባል ኣብ ሰሙንን ወርሕን
    እንታይ ኣድሊዩና ዓዳምን መራሕን
    ጸሓይ ከየብረቕካ መሬት ኣይወግሕን
    ንኺድ ደኣ ኣሕዋተይ ናብ ግብርን ስራሕን!

    ሃየ’ወ ነበርክት ኣሕዋት አእጃምና
    ብሓባር ክንሓፍስ ምህርቲ ዓወትና
    ብዘይካ ውፉያት መን ኣሎዋ ኣሰና
    ፈተውቲ ነቕስን ጸላኢና ኣንቢዕና!

    ነዛ በላሕ መርፍእ ፈትሊ ንኽንኮና
    ትጽውዓና ኣላ ክትሰምዕ ድምጽና
    ኣጆኺ ንበላ ከምቲ ናይ ቀደምና
    ኣስመራ ክንኣቱ ምልክነት ጸሪግና
    መኸተን ዓወትን ብርሃን’ዩ ቅድሜና!

    ብሽንሆት ንኽንነብር፡ ዕምሪ ምልኪ ነሕጽር!

    ሓውኹም መሲናስ 31-07-2014

  • lemlem January 2, 2015

    My comment is that this web site is great it has achieved so much incredible stories ,But still a lot remain to be done . I think the website need to improve and introduce new development , for instance, it would attract people if there is cultural exhibition in which the nine different culture and tradition can be expressed. At least people could listen songs while surfing the web.Any how you know much better people new things with new year.

  • brhane March 12, 2015

    Hiji haye edey edka nbel. N’asena nesesna. Let’s be voice for the enocent voice less eritrean. Darga kulu ab wishiti eritrea lomi radio assenna zey semie yelen. Slezi bzey samuna ajacks hangol nay sebat nahatsibela radiona wala ewhad edey edka nbel. Kemti hade zibelo hiji eti kunat ab hangol sebat mikiyar eyu. Ember tetakusika seb mkital aykonen. Kulna antsar issais ente kuna issais hanti mealti aywieln eyu.

  • Abisho March 13, 2015

    Haben you are the one who Idiot mind like your lunatic Isease.This is OUR Website its not Isease website you don’t have right to asked about what they needed Assenna with the budget.Because its commonsense why asking fucking question. Go head ask for Isease where is going the the Gold of bisha, and he gonna tell you okay. Assenna is the voice of voiceless people Eritrean,and we were not paid 2%for your fucking Isease we gonna pay for Assenna to solve our problem from your fucking Dicala Isease. so why you get upset Idiot mind.