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Ethiopia: Journalism under anti-terrorism law
Source: Al Jazeera
How the US 'war on terror' has provided cover for laws that are being used to silence dissident journalists.
When the Paris-based media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders released its annual Press Freedom Index, few were surprised that Ethiopia had dropped 11 places to 137.
Journalists in the country have never truly been free to report however developments in the region over the last few years have had a detrimental effect on the media environment.
With the disputed 2005 general election, the continued conflict with separatist groups and the spectre of the Arab Spring arriving in the country – the government in Addis Abba has been cracking down on the media
And one of its most effective tools is a vague, far reaching anti-terrorism law that has sentenced at least 11 journalists to harsh prison terms.
In 2009, former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government passed the anti-terrorism proclamation. In August last year Zenawi died but the legislation survived under his successor Hailemaraiam Desalegn.
Much of the reporting on Ethiopia these days is done at a safe distance. According to media watchdogs, 49 journalists fled the country between 2007 and 2012 to get away from a government that does not want to talk about this issue. The Listening Post made several interview requests but were denied.
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