Response to HRW report on press freedom in Ethiopia

23 Jan 2015

PRESS STATEMENT

On 21 January 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched yet another attack against the Ethiopian Government. It is a well-known fact that HRW has been waging a campaign of vilification against Ethiopia under the guise of a range of issues. This time, the chosen theme was media freedom and the upcoming general elections. In its latest report entitled “Journalism is Not a Crime: Violations of Media Freedom in Ethiopia”, HRW makes unfounded allegations of systematic repression of the independent media.

However, the fact of the matter is that there is no systematic repression of the independent media. It has been over 20 years since censorship was abolished and the content of media reports are left to the media organizations themselves. Indeed anyone who lives in Ethiopia and follows independent media reports can attest to that fact on a daily basis.

The prevailing environment of media freedom in Ethiopia today clearly shows that journalists who behave responsibly operate freely in Ethiopia, since freedom of expression comes with responsibility. The government and the people of Ethiopia are fully aware that the country’s fledgling democracy cannot afford to expose itself to incitement of ethnic and religious hatred. The track record of Ethiopia is very clear where the respect of the constitutional order and the respect of the law is concerned. High government officials have been scrutinised under the law, and whenever they have trespassed against the law of the country they have been prosecuted. What has happened to some of the journalists is no different to what has been applied to government officials.

Being a member of an opposition party or a journalist does not constitute a licence to violate the law of the land. Any action that compromises the integrity of the constitutional order, the law of the land, is a recipe for obstructing the democratic process, a process which continues to gather momentum year on year.

It therefore shouldn’t come as a surprise that the government will do its level best to guard against any intention by anyone to unleash violence and terrorism by inciting ethnic and religious disturbances. Whenever cases like this arise the government will act in keeping with the relevant laws of the land.

HRW’s intimation of the reasons behind the closure of some of the print media is not correct either. The purpose of the establishment of some these media organizations, was not to participate in the democratic process in the first place, and their closure has more to do with the fact that they cannot survive in an environment of law and order.

HRW’s criticism of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as well as the Proclamation of Charities and Societies, although nothing new, also misses the point. First of all, Ethiopia is not the only country which has enacted an Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Since its introduction, the proclamation has contributed immensely to fighting terror activities in the country.

The Government of Ethiopia has tried to engage HRW staff to explain the objective reality on the ground and to give them an opportunity to know more about the democratic transformation in Ethiopia. This has not borne fruit as HRW is not interested in the bigger picture – and does not acknowledge the many positive changes that have taken place in Ethiopia.

In closing, it must be noted that the  Government of Ethiopia, like any other elected government elsewhere, has the fundamental duty and responsibility of maintaining law and order as well as peace and stability in the country and it will do its level best to discharge that responsibility  effectively and efficiently. At the same time however, it must be made clear that Ethiopia will not waver from its original intention of steadfastly building a democratic society and working towards the strengthening of press freedom.

Ethiopia will do this because it believes that it is a necessity for its people, not for the approval, or lack of it, of organizations such as HRW.

The building of a democratic society in Ethiopia is not a luxury, but a necessity in our pursuit of building a vibrant, responsible and united Ethiopia where the equality of all nations and nationalities of Ethiopia are respected.

Ethiopian Embassy London Refutes HRW Allegations - BBC World News - 23 January 2015
Statement
Prev Article Next Article

Latest News

Browse all
Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw, Ethiopia's Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Sport, on the occasion of the official handover ceremony of locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II.
20 Mar 2019
Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw on the Occasion of the Official Handover of Locks of Hair Belonging to Emperor Tewodros II
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport, Her Excellency Dr Hirut Kassaw Wondim, visited and held discussions with the British Library in London in her first engagement as part of a wider visit to cultural institutions in the United Kingdom.
19 Mar 2019
Minister signs MoU with British Library on Debut Visit to the United Kingdom
An agreement has been reached on the manner and style of the hand-over to Ethiopia, of locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II. It has been agreed that an inclusive hand-over ceremony will be held at the museum on 20 March, where H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture and Tourism, will receive the human remains from the museum’s…
18 Mar 2019
UK’s National Army Museum to hand over locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia
Yesterday, at approximately 08:44am local time, (05:44 GMT) an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft Boeing 737-800MAX, flight ET 302 en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, tragically crashed. 11 March has been declared a national day of mourning for the victims. A book of condolence has also been opened at the Embassy.
11 Mar 2019
National Day of Mourning Declared for Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302
We are delighted to host a special exhibition of historic and cultural artefacts at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, to commemorate the 123rd Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa from 9 - 17 March 2019.
8 Mar 2019
Event: Remembering Adwa
National Army Museum የአፄ ቴዎድሮስ ፀጉርን ለመመለስ መወሰኑ በሁለቱ ወዳጅ አገሮች መካከል እየጎለበተ የመጣውን የመግባባት መንፈስ ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ መድረሱን እንደሚያመለክት በለንደን የሚገኘው የኢፌዴሪ ኤምባሲ አስታውቋል።
5 Mar 2019
የአፄ ቴዎድሮስ ፀጉር ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ሊመለስ ስለመሆኑ፣
The Ethiopian Embassy welcomes the unanimous decision by the Trustees of the National Army Museum to return locks of hair belonging to Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II. For Ethiopians everywhere, a display of jubilant euphoria is to be expected when the hair is returned to its rightful home in Ethiopia.
4 Mar 2019
Ethiopia Secures Repatriation of Remains of Emperor Tewodros II
ለንደን የሚገኘው የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ ከዳያስፖራው ጋር ውይይት ለማካሄድና በጋራ መንቀሳቀስ የሚቻልበትን ሁኔታ ለመፍጠር የአንድነትና የሰላም ድልድይ ግንባታ መድረክ አዘጋጅቷል፡፡
27 Feb 2019
የአንድነትና የሰላም ድልድይ ግንባታ መድረክ በለንደን
The Ethiopian Embassy in London cordially invites all members of the Ethiopian community in the United Kingdom to an open forum held, in the spirit of togetherness, to foster greater peace and unity within the Diaspora. The Forum will be held on 16 March 2019 from 2pm.
26 Feb 2019
Diaspora Forum: Building a Bridge for Peace and Unity
Investors hoping to explore one of Africa's fastest-growing economies can now acquire easy access to reliable and up-to-date information with a new online investment guide to Ethiopia. The iGuide highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment, thus helping the government understand investor needs.
19 Feb 2019
Ethiopia launches online investment guide to stimulate FDI
PM Abiy led an Ethiopian delegation on a three-nation European Tour, in Italy where they met the President and the Pope, Davos where the Prime Minister addressed global leaders at the World Economic Forum and Brussels for meetings with the EU Commission.
13 Feb 2019
Prime Minister Abiy receives further support for reforms in latest whistle-stop tour of Europe