About ESAT


What is ESAT?

The Ethiopian Satellite Television & Radio (ESAT) is a nonpartisan, independent media outlet established primarily to promote free press, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Ethiopia. It has three studios in Washington D.C., Amsterdam and London.

Why was ESAT established?

The people of Ethiopia live under a tyrannical regime that has criminalized free expression. The Committee to Protect Journalists has repeatedly designated the government as one of the leading enemies of press freedom in the world.

ESAT was established on April 24, 2010 by a group of exiled journalists to provide accurate, objective and balanced news, analysis and information, perspective as well as entertainment, talk shows, documentaries, sports and cultural programming pertaining to Ethiopia and the rest of the world.

What are its aims and objectives?

ESAT’s main objective is to provide free access to news and information that are unlikely to see the daylight in Ethiopia due to censorship and other forms of restrictions.
ESAT firmly believes that suppression of press freedom, persecution of journalists, and interference in the free flow of information by the Ethiopian regime is harmful and counterproductive to peace, stability and the effort to build a democratic society.

ESAT believes that a well-functioning independent press is an essential element of a democratic system by holding those in power accountable. Exposing corruption, abuse of power, human rights violations and embezzlement of public resources, as well as giving a voice for the voiceless, is the job of the media.

ESAT also believes that without free access to information and ideas, citizens are unable to participate meaningfully in the political system.

Who owns ESAT?

The Foundation Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), a non-governmental organization registered under the Dutch Chamber of Commerce is the owner of ESAT. ESAT’s operation in North America is also run by Advocacy for Media and Democracy in Ethiopia, a non-profit organisation incorporated in the United States. ESAT is powered by broad-based collective of exiled journalists, human rights advocates, civic society leaders and members in the Diaspora deeply committed to the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

What types of programming does ESAT produce?

ESAT produces daily news, in-depth News Analysis, Feature Stories, Panel Discussions, Interviews, Entertainment, Sports, Historical and Cultural Programs. In addition, there are programs on health and the environment. Every effort is made in the programming to reflect the diversity of opinions as well as embrace the plurality of Ethiopian society; while ensuring that the content conforms to the strict guidelines of ESAT’s editorial policy.

Where does ESAT get its funding?

Currently, ESAT relies on the support it receives from individual donors and contributions from the Ethiopian Diaspora. Efforts are being made to get institutional support from organizations that promote democratization and press freedom.

Why support ESAT?

Ethiopia is one of the countries in the world with the worst record of press freedom. After the 2005 disputed elections, scores of popular independent newspapers have been closed down. In the last few years alone, a number of journalists have been harassed, persecuted, tortured and jailed for doing their jobs. Over 150 journalists have been forced into exile within the last five years.

The Ethiopian government controls almost all electronic media outlets. The state-run media is solely focused on propaganda and shuts out critical views. ESAT aspires to fill that void so that the Ethiopian people will have unfettered access to information, diverse viewpoints and perspectives.

Freedom of information is a fundamental human right. Every Ethiopian citizen has the constitutional and internationally-guaranteed legal right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and without interference, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through other media of his choice and without censorship in any form.”

What challenges ESAT has faced so far?

The time, energy and financial sacrifices paid to launch ESAT are incalculable. It also takes enormous resources to sustain a satellite television project of this magnitude and put it on a strong foundation. We need the help of freedom loving Ethiopians and global advocates of free media to cover the costs of original programming, technical services, special productions and other activities necessary to keep ESAT on air.

ESAT’s principal challenge so far has come from the “deliberate electronic interference” by the Ethiopian regime. Since it’s founding on April 24, 2010 ESAT, has been jammed five times in violation of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) international conventions that prohibit jamming and censorship in contravention of Article 29 of Ethiopian Constitution.

How can one contribute to ESAT?

ESAT relies on the contribution of its supporters to stay on air. Supporters can make a recurring monthly contributions or a one-time donation through bank transfer or automatic credit or debit card charges directly from ESAT Support Page.