Press Freedom: The Foundation of a Healthy Democracy

18 Apr 2019

Embassy hosts reception ahead of World Press Freedom Day Celebrations in Addis Ababa

The Embassy, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute for Leadership, Communication, and Organisation (EILCO) and the International Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR), hosted a reception on 16th April 2019, in commemoration of the upcoming World Press Freedom Day, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1st to 3rd May.

Welcoming guests, Ambassador Fesseha Shawel expressed his pride in Ethiopia hosting such a major conference, which would offer an opportunity to celebrate the recent changes in the country. “Ethiopia wants to build the institutions that will enable us to enrich our democracy.”

“Without free press, democracy and change is unthinkable”

“We invite you to visit Ethiopia and see the reality on the ground…Praise us where we have done well and give us critical feedback where improvement is needed,” he said.

2018 was a year of transformational change, especially on press freedom. Under the administration of H.E Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, thousands of political prisoners and journalists have been released, and for the first time in over a decade, there are no journalists or bloggers in prison. Diaspora media outlets that were previously banned, are also now free to operate in the country. Furthermore, revisions to key legislation related to press freedom and freedom of expression are currently being finalised.

Speaking on the occasion, IOHR Director, Valerie Peay said:

“Here we stand in 2019 with not a single journalist or blogger incarcerated, with a country that is going through the most incredible change and is offering a beacon to the rest of the world in what is possible.”

“We are very proud to be going to World Press Freedom Day in Ethiopia. For us, it is about taking the world and the world’s focus to Ethiopia and showing what has happened in Ethiopia,” she added.

Alastair King-Smith, Co-ordinator for the Global Campaign on Media Freedom at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UK Government was delighted to be partnering with Ethiopia, the African Union and UNESCO over World Press Freedom Day because bringing this subject to Africa is showing by example and through what is happening in Ethiopia and the leadership being shown there, how best to champion world press freedom for the future.”

“It is only with a political will to change and showing the world what can be done differently, that we can actually transform things,” he said.

Mr King-Smith also highlighted the upcoming international conference on media freedom that will be held in London on 10th– 11thJuly, which the United Kingdom and Canada will co-host. Journalists, civil society and governments will participate in discussions about press freedom and the importance of defending the media against censorship, imprisonment, personal attacks and abuse.”

Bekele Woyecha, co-founder of EILCO, encouraged participants to visit, invest and write about Ethiopia. EILCO aims to bring together professionals from different backgrounds and experiences, looking for opportunities to take back to Ethiopia. “As British citizens of Ethiopian origin, we have a lot to contribute,” Bekele said. In Ethiopia, “we will host a panel discussion at the World Press Freedom Day conference, and have also organised a lecture at Addis Ababa University School of Journalism.”

Award-winning Egyptian journalist, Mohammed Fahmy, echoed the call for instating a UN special envoy dedicated to the safety of journalists and applauded the Ethiopian government for releasing hundreds of journalists. “Today is a day of celebration, without a free press there is no democracy,” he concluded.

For an exclusive interview with Ambassador Fesseha by IOHR TV, please visit: http://bit.ly/IOHRTV

—-ENDS—-

For further information, please contact the press office on:

T: 020 7838 3883
E: press@ethioembassy.org.uk
W: www.ethioembassy.org.uk

 Notes to Editors:  

The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the African Union Commission.

The main event will take place in Addis Ababa, on 1st– 3rd May at the African Union Headquarters. This year’s theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

Journalists, activists, government representatives, and personalities from all over the world are expected to attend the event.

For further information about World Press Freedom Day, please visit https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldpressfreedomday.

About IOHR

The International Observatory of Human Rights was established in 2017 in London as an independent non-profit and non-governmental organisation.

The team is made up of human rights professionals, lawyers, researchers, award-winning journalists and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

IOHR utilises its unique access and the expertise of its multilingual and dedicated staff to advocate for human rights worldwide.

W: www.observatoryihr.org

About EILCO

 Established in 2019, the Ethiopian Institute for Leadership Communication and Organisation (EILCO) is the product of four British co-founders of Ethiopian origin who want to take their experiences, connections, relationships and interests back to their country of origin to support the changes taking place in Ethiopia.

EILCO aims to provide training, development and consultancy in Ethiopia in the fields of leadership, media, press and communication, public administration and civilian and military organisation.

W: www.eilco.net

 

VIDEO: Embassy Reception Ahead of World Press Freedom Day

Latest News

Browse all
We are delighted to announce that Ethiopia will take part in this year’s World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, scheduled to take place from Monday 4th November – Wednesday 6th November at ExCeL London.
17 Oct 2019
Ethiopia at World Travel Market, London
The Office of the Prime Minister is pleased to express our pride in the selection of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. This recognition is a timeless testimony to the MEDEMER ideals of unity, cooperation, and mutual coexistence that the Prime Minister has consistently been championing.
11 Oct 2019
Statement from the Prime Minister’s Office following the announcement of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
11 Oct 2019
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
The Government of Ethiopia affirms its position to advance the trilateral technical dialogue concerning the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and will reinforce its efforts to realize the development of its water resource to meet the present and future needs of its people that deserve development and an adequate standard of living.
5 Oct 2019
Statement from the Government of Ethiopia following Khartoum round of trilateral talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
A high-level delegation, led by President Sahle-Work Zewde, took part in this year's UN General Assembly in New York. President Sahle-Work delivered her maiden speech, since being elected President of Ethiopia in October last year.
30 Sep 2019
Ethiopia at the UN General Assembly
The annual meeting of ambassadors, heads of missions and senior officials offered an opportunity to take stock of the annual performance of the ministry. The previous year focussed on promoting peace and security and advancing economic integration in the Horn of Africa region.
30 Sep 2019
New Year, New Hopes and Renewed commitments
Alex Lewis and the Wild Wheelchairs team paid a courtesy call on Ambassador Fesseha ahead of their trip to Ethiopia, which will see Alex, a quadruple amputee, embark on a monumental challenge – ascending Ras Dashen, Ethiopia’s highest mountain.
27 Sep 2019
Alex Lewis and the Wild Wheelchairs team set off on their Ethiopian adventure
The Great Ethiopian Run has won the “Best International Road Race” award of The Challenge Awards. Dubbed ‘the Oscars of the endurance industry’, Challenge Awards is organised by one of the world’s biggest online entry platforms Let's Do This in partnership with Runner's World, the biggest specialist running magazine.
26 Sep 2019
Great Ethiopian Run wins “Best International Running Event”
Two blue plaques in honour of Emperor Haile Selassie’s life in Bath and visits to Weston-Super-Mare were unveiled on 22nd September by the Emperor’s grandson, Prince Michael Mekonnen. Other dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Bath, Councillor Gerry Curran, were also in attendance.
25 Sep 2019
Blue plaques for Emperor Haile Selassie unveiled in Somerset
The Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association, in collaboration with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Trade and Industry, is hosting the 9th International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds at Sheraton Addis Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 29 and 30, 2019. For further information, visit the conference website.
16 Sep 2019
International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds in Ethiopia
On 12th September, Ethiopians from across the country and abroad ushered in the New Year – 2012 in the Ethiopian calendar. On the occassion, Ambassador Fesseha outlined the previous year's activities and projections for the next year.
11 Sep 2019
Ethiopian New Year Message from the Ambassador