Africa Today blog

The flagship African show in Press TV

Is press freedom under attack in Ethiopia in the name of security?

Posted by AT on March 11, 2010

Africa Today 47
Topic: Is press freedom under attack in Ethiopia in the name of security?

Date of recording: 05 March 2010
Broadcasting date: 09 March 2010
Presenter: Vuyiswa

Guests:

1- Mr Negussie Gamma
Exiled Journalist

2- Mr Bekele Teklu
Member, Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party

Description:

Ethiopia’s new anti-terror law strips journalists of the right to protect the identity of their sources, a top official said in a statement carried Saturday by the national news agency ENA.
“The anti-terrorism law revoked the rights of journalists not to disclose their information sources when they report on terrorism,” the agency quoted State Minister for Communication Shimeles Kemal as saying.
“The new law revoked this right taking into consideration the magnitude of disasters caused by terrorism,” he added.

AF47 opening VT

Ethiopia’s counter terrorism and media law has drawn criticism worldwide especially from human rights organizations. The government enacted legislation ahead of this year’s elections in May. According to the Human Rights Watch, the law could classify political speech and peaceful protest as terrorist acts. The new law considers as acts of terrorism, damage to property and disruption to public services . It strips journalists of the right to protect the identity of their sources. The deputy head of the office for government communication affairs Shimelis Kemal said the new law requires journalists to disclose the sources of their information when reporting on Terrorism. The law will restrict the activities of opposition parties in the run up to the elections and place reporting restrictions on journalists whose work are not in favour of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front EPRDF. In 2005’s elections in which Mr Zenawi’s ruling EPRDF retained political power, several protestors, political party leaders, journalists and human rights activitists were arrested. There is a fear that this new law could lead to similar instances in the elections this year. Only one other African country, Eritrea, has jailed more journalists than Ethiopia. With this law likely to erode freedom of expression in that country, Africa Today asks; Is press freedom under attack in Ethiopia in the name of security?

Part 1

Part 2

AF47 2nd VT
Africa’s oldest independent country Ethiopia has a population of over 70 million people and it’s the third most populous nation in Africa. The country gets the most relief aid and the least development aid of any poor country in the world. Ethiopia is widely known for its periodic droughts and famines. Additionally the country has also been famous for long civil conflict and a border dispute with its neighbours, Eritrea. It remains one of Africa’s poorest countries even though it is Africa’s leading country in coffee production. The economy depends mainly on agriculture and lack of rain in recent times has caused severe famine. At the end of 2006, Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia to support its transitional government. But they failed to wrestle power from the Islamists who had been in control over large parts of the country. In early 2009 Ethiopia pulled its troops from Somalia. The Country’s president Meles Zenawi’s of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)is in his third-five year term as prime minister after winning bitterly contested elections in May 2005. Since his win, he has broken many promises in safeguarding freedom of speech and expression. Recent anti terrorism laws are one of new measures introduced to silence opposition members and journalists in the run up to this year’s elections.

Part 3

Your Emails:

From Aticky,
I listened to the two ignorant Ethiopian self exiled refugees talking such

rubbish about Ethiopian governmental system .In the last 18 years Ethiopia

has brought a miracle in improving the lives of millions of its citizens.

Its federal system of government is superb, infrastructure development is

beyond human imagination in such a short period of time.

From Simon Hagos
 I followed the interview which was conducted with the two Ethiopian

guests who live in exile. Western countries specially the USA and UK

promote the Ethiopian democracy as exemplary, but the reality is the

opposite. with the two journalist we got detailed information about the

true picture of Ethiopia.

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One Response to “Is press freedom under attack in Ethiopia in the name of security?”

  1. Ethiopia ‘silencing its critics’ before election Wednesday, 24 March 2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8585619.stm

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