Press Freedom in Ethiopia Has Blossomed. Will it Last? (The Economist)

(Photo: Reuters)

The Economist

Print edition | Middle East and Africa
Mar 16th 2019 | ADDIS ABABA

Eskinder nega founded his first newspaper, Ethiopis, in 1993. After seven issues it was forced to close, the first paper charged under a muzzling law introduced by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (eprdf), which had shot its way to power two years before. Three more of Eskinder’s newspapers were shut down by the courts. In 2012 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of terrorism. He was released last year as part of an amnesty for political prisoners.

Ethiopis is back in business, its return symbolising the start of a more hopeful era for press freedom. Hundreds of websites, blogs and satellite-tv channels have been unblocked since Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister in April last year. For the first time in 13 years there are no journalists in prison; no fewer than 23 publications and six privately owned satellite channels have been given licences by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority since July.

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