Ethiopia: Laws systematically used to suppress press freedom, says RSF

ESAT News (April 25, 2018)

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) says Ethiopian authorities have continued to systematically use laws restrict freedom of the press and imprison journalists without charge indefinitely.

“Terrorism charges have been systematically used against journalists ever since the 2009 terrorism law took effect. The charges carry long jail sentences and allow the authorities to hold journalists without trial for extended periods,” the media rights watchdog said in an annual report released yesterday.

The country ranked 150 out of 180 countries and has shown no improvements. Six newspapers have been closed and 30 journalists were forced into exile since 2014.

A state of emergency re-imposed in February has been used to arrest journalists and ban the public from watching or listening to broadcast media.

“The Internet and social networks are often disconnected while physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media,” the report added.

The annual index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.