On June 22, Ethiopia was plunged into an internet blackout
following what the government described as a failed attempted coup
in the Amhara region.
Speaking in parliament recently, Tanzania’s information minister, Harrison Mwakyembe, wondered why people were still concerned about the whereabouts of Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist who went missing in November 2017 in the country’s Coast Region.
(CPJ) - During a trip to Addis Ababa in January, it was impossible to miss the signs that Ethiopian media are enjoying unprecedented freedom. A flurry of new publications were on the streets
. At a public forum
that CPJ attended, journalists spoke about positive reforms, but also openly criticized their lack of access
to the government. At a press conference, journalists from state media and the Oromia Media Network, an outlet previously banned
and accused of terrorism, sat side by side.
When Uganda in April ordered
Internet service providers to shut down all news sites that had not been authorized by the communications regulator
(pdf), it was the latest attempt by President Yoweri Museveni’s government to constrict
the space for independent media.
On January 10, radio journalists Darsema Sori
and Khalid Mohammed
were released from prison after serving lengthy sentences related to their work at the Ethiopian faith-based station Radio Bilal. Despite their release and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's promise earlier this month
to free political prisoners, Ethiopia's use of imprisonment, harassment, and surveillance means that the country continues to be a hostile environment for journalists.