Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards

Soleyana S. Gebremichael and Endalk Chala of Zone 9 bloggers at CPJ's 25th International Press Freedom Awards ceremony in New York City on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015. (Photo credit: Jeffrey Phipps/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers were honored with the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards on Tuesday in New York City.

The Ethiopian blogging collective shared the prestigious CPJ award with other journalists from Malaysia, Paraguay and Syria.

The ceremony, which took place at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on November 24th, was hosted by ABC World News Anchor David Muir and chaired by Hearst CEO Steven R. Swartz.

Members of Zone9 include: Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, Befekadu Hailu, Soleyana S. Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye. At the NYC event on Tuesday, however, only Soleyana and Endalk were present to accept the awards.

The New York Times called the Zone 9 case “one of the world’s most widely followed press-freedom cases,” that began with their arrest in April 2014 under Ethiopia’s controversial anti-terrorism legislation.

Four of the bloggers were cleared of terrorism charges last month while the remaining were freed over the Summer just prior to President Obama’s historic visit to Ethiopia in July.

Ethiopia has released several journalists from prison this year including the Zone 9 bloggers and Reeyot Alemu, but CPJ says the country is still “holding around a dozen journalists in jail in relation to their work.”

Below are photos from the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards honoring Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers:

Audio: Interview With Zone 9 Bloggers Soleyana S. Gebremichael & Endalk Chala

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