The quick death of Ethiopia’s freedom of the press

Ethiopia is not only becoming a major repressor of free press but aligning itself with the other worst oppressor countries

While Abiy Ahmed supporters complain of international press discrimination against the Ethiopian government they turn a blind eye to the complete loss of press freedom and increasing prosecution in Ethiopia. The respected Committee to Protect Journalists latest report finds Ethiopia only second to Eritrea in violations of press freedom. Any news about Ethiopian federal government activities not officially approved is now considered an act of terrorism immediately liable to imprisonment. 

In May 2021 Reuters reported that over 21 journalists many of whom had been previously freed had been arrested in the previous year. Scores of journalists and their media have been shut down, jailed, or left the country fearing imprisonment or worse. Despite this Billene Seyoum, press representative for Abiy Ahmed, falsely claims “conditions for journalists are improving”.

When Abiy Ahmed came to power as Ethiopian Prime Minister in 2018 one of the tenants he proclaimed for his vision of a new democracy was freedom of the press. In fact the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize committee noted specifically that Abiy had “discontinued media censorship”. Now Abiy Ahmed’s voice is the only one allowed to be heard in Ethiopia.

 

 

 

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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