Last updateTue, 24 May 2016 11am

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Ethiopia's has a poor record on media freedom and is one of the most heavily censored countries in the world. The government's self-interest in suppressing any form of criticism is clear from:

  • The large number of journalists in prison and self-imposed exile.
  • The ruling party's rigorous safeguarding of its monopoly over the media and telecommunications.

ARTICLE 19 is working with Ethiopian journalists to increase freedom of expression in their country.

Some profiles of journalists in prison.


Eskinder Nega

Eskinder was sentenced to 18 years in prison July 13, 2012 under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009. Just prior to his detention, Eskinder had published an online column critical of the use of the terrorism law to silence dissent and calling for the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end torture in the country’s prisons. He has appealed the sentencing.

Reeyot Alemu

Reeyot Alemu is serving her five year sentence after being arrested in June 2011. She was earlier sentenced to 14 years and fined 33,000 birrs (US$1,500) under Ethiopia's controversial terrorism law for planning and conspiring a terrorist act; possessing property for terrorist acts; and participating in the promotion or communication of a terrorist act. On appeal, her prison term was reduced to 5 years. Lately it is reported that Reeyot’s health is deteriorating and was denied a proper medical checkup. It was also alleged that she was threatened to solitary confinement by prison authorities.

Woubshet Taye

Woubshet Taye was a deputy editor of the now defunct weekly Awramba Times. He was sentenced in 2011 to a 14 year jail term after being charged under the controversial anti-terrorism law. Woubeshet opted to forego an appeal and submitted an application to the Ministry of Justice Pardon Board along with the now freed Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye and he is still waiting to learn his fate. In April 2013, Woubshet was transferred from Kality prison to another jail located in Zeway town, 147 km South East of Addis Ababa.

Yusuf Getachew

Yusuf Getachew, editor of YeMuslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs), is in detention at Kality prison since the evening of July 20 2012. Yusuf is charged under the anti-terrorism law and his trial is still on-going but in a closed court.

Solomon Kebede, on the right side, with other Muslim Affair journalists

Solomon Kebede, managing director of the now defunct Ye Muslimoch Guday/Muslim Affairs Magazine was detained in January 2013. Unconfirmed reports indicate his case has started together with that of Yusuf Getachew.

Click here to read Ethiopia Press Releases