NED Talk Featuring Lily Mengesha: Media and Ethiopia’s Anti-Terror Law

Journalist Lily Mengesha. (Photograph courtesy of the National Endowment for Democracy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 15th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian journalist Simegnish (Lily) Y. Mengesha, who is currently a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC is the featured speaker at an upcoming presentation hosted by The International Forum for Democratic Studies at NED.

The event entitled: “Too Scared to Post: Freedom of Expression Under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Legislation” will be held on Tuesday, June 23 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program will include comments by Yohanan Assefa of the National Endowment for Democracy and will be moderated by Sally Blair of the International Forum for Democratic Studies.

“The September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States spurred the passage of anti-terrorism legislation worldwide, a development that has engendered widespread debate about the dangers such legislation can pose to civil liberties. Ethiopia is no exception: In 2009, after domestic and international threats to Ethiopia’s national security, its parliament passed a far-reaching anti-terrorism bill whose controversially broad parameters have been used to clamp down on freedom of expression and political dissent. Despite an international outcry, the Ethiopian government continues to employ the sweeping anti-terror law to crack down on journalists critical of the regime. At least fifteen reporters and bloggers have been charged and sentenced to prison terms since the law took effect, while more than thirty others have been driven out of the country. In her presentation, Simegnish Mengesha will analyze the origins of the anti-terrorism law and its harsh effects on Ethiopian media, focusing on new media and highlighting cases of journalists directly affected by the law. She will offer recommendations for creating a more open media environment in Ethiopia. Her presentation will be followed by comments from Yohanan Assefa,” the National Endowment for Democracy announced in a press release.

“Lily Mengesha is a seasoned journalist, media consultant, and translator who has served most recently as director of the Ethiopian Environment Journalists Association. An outspoken advocate for freedom of expression, she has worked extensively with foreign news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Voice of America, and the BBC, partnering with the international media to highlight stories the Ethiopian government would rather leave uncovered. In 2005, she began working with the Sub-Saharan Informer and covered the political unrest following Ethiopia’s national elections that year. In 2012, she assisted U.S. photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair and the United Nations Population Fund in producing the award-winning documentary “Too Young to Wed.” On Press Freedom Day 2015, Ms. Mengesha conducted an interview and press conference with President Barack Obama at which she highlighted the plight of Ethiopian journalism. Yohanan Assefa is program officer for East and Horn of Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy.”

If You Go:
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
Acceptance only with name and affiliation by Friday, June 19
Click here to RSVP

Beyond Elections: Ethiopia’s Uncertain Political Path

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