Cyber Ethiopia

Ethiopia – Jailed Ethiopian Journalist Wins UNESCO Freedom Prize

Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu, detained since June 2011, has been awarded the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression,” announced the UNESCO on Tuesday.

An independent international jury of media professionals took note of Reeyot Alemu’s contribution to numerous and independent publications. She wrote critically about political and social issues, focusing on the root causes of poverty, and gender equality, The UNESCO said.

The Ethiopian journalist, who worked for several independent media before she founded in 2010 her own publishing house and a monthly magazine called Change, was arrested in June 2011 and is currently serving a five year prison sentence.

Many press freedom defense NGOs have called on the Ethiopian authorities to reconsider the sentence handed out to Reeyot Alemu on alleged terrorism charges and to show clemency on humanitarian grounds, as the iconic journalist underwent surgery for breast tumor.

Last week, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect journalists (CPJ), Joel Simon, sent a letter to Ethiopian Minister of Justice asking for the release of the journalist “whose health has deteriorated,” “who is now being threatened with solitary confinement,”  and whose “full human rights are being denied to her”.

According to the letter, Prison authorities have threatened Reeyot with solitary confinement for two months as a punishment for alleged bad behavior toward them and for having threatened to publicize human rights violations by prison guards.

The prison sentence against Reeyot for performing her duties and exercising her rights as a journalist calls into question Ethiopia’s commitment to the democratic values and human rights the country claims to uphold, said the CPJ executive director, urging Ethiopia to honor its promise to build a humane and democratic state by withdrawing the threat of solitary confinement against Reeyot and ensuring her access to adequate medical care.

Reeyot had received the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award in 2012.

Written by: Peter Mulvany on April 16, 2013.
Last revised by: Jaber Ali

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Posted by on Apr 17 2013. Filed under News, Views and Opinions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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The then-TPLF-dominated regime in Ethiopia was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to actively engage in political censorship of the Internet .

Since May 2006, the most popular Ethiopian web sites (including CyberEthiopia) and several blogs have been blocked across the nation. The apparent objective was to prevent the dissemination of information that is critical of the regime.

Following the political protests which have swept the nation since November 2015, the regime has routinely shutdown the Internet and restricted access to Social Media (including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber) and indicated its keenness to control Social Media.

On 22nd June 2018, the new Prime Minister Dr Abye Ahmed's government reported that it had unblocked 264 websites including after 12 years of blockage as attested by the OONI’s thorough verifications of our website’s unblocking .

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