Public media profile / MIRH/ 07 June 2022
Collected by Mekdes Demss
Aimero (“Intellect”) was the first government newspaper in Ethiopia. There are different accounts regarding the starting date of Aimero. Ministry of Information’s 1966 publication on the history of Ethiopia’s mass communication system states that Aimero was launched in 1900 European calendar.
This Amharic publication was issued on Saturdays in Addis Ababa, and Amharic was the publication language. This make Aimero the first newspaper in Africa, published in an African language.
Emperor Menelik himself named the newspaper. Aimero was edited by a Greek businessman living in Addis Ababa named Andreas E. Kavadia. Kavadia spoke, read, and wrote Amharic quite fluently, and was very close to the emperor.
At the beginning Aimero was published as a four page news-sheet with the circulation of 24 copies. Most of the issues were about church and the capitol. A little later, its circulation size rose to 200 copies after Menelik imported a printing machine through a Syrian businessman.
Emperor Menelik himself was keen on reading the newspaper. Ato Haile Mariam Serabyon Pasha read it to him every Saturday.
Aimero largely contained news stories translated from French newspapers. It also carried public announcements and business ads. They were printed in Amharic as well as French. The use of French in the announcements and ads shows that they were meant to reach the small expatriate community in Addis Ababa.
Finally, after 28 years of publication, Aimero folded on April 11,1936 European calendar, three weeks before the Fascist Italian forces were to occupy Addis Ababa. The reason for its folding was the growing instability in the country.
Dr. Mesert chekol, 2013, The Quest for Press Freedom: One Hundred Years of History of the Media in Ethiopia.