The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomed the Ethiopian government’s decision to allow access to 264 websites, including news outlets and blogs, that were blocked in the country.
In a tweet today, Fitsum Arega, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff, said that the sites included the diaspora outlets Oromia Media Network (OMN) and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT).
Freedom of expression is a foundational right that other rights depend on. #Ethiopia has opened access to 264 blocked websites/bloggers/ ESAT and OMN. A free flow of information is essential for engaged & responsible citizenry. Only a free market of ideas will lead to the truth.
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) June 22, 2018
Belay Manaye, a journalist in Addis Ababa, confirmed to CPJ that the outlets were accessible in Ethiopia.
“Allowing Ethiopians to access these news outlets is a positive sign that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is committed to delivering his promise to end Ethiopia’s censorship of the independent press,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “We ask the prime minister to now amend laws that restrict free speech and to end a system of surveillance that has long been used to intimidate journalists.”