(UPR)-The lack of press freedom in Ethiopia has wide-ranging effects, not all of them political. For example, in 2012 the Committee to Protect Journalists appealed to the White House to acknowledge the important role of independent media in facilitating response to famine, singling out the Ethiopian government’s actions in deliberately downplaying food crises, denying journalists access to sensitive areas, and censoring Independent coverage; these actions undermine the ability of donor nations and aid agencies to respond effectively to emerging food crises.
In April 2012, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPF) reported that Barhanena Selam (Light and Peace) Printing Company, Ethiopia's main, state-owned printing company, had issued a directive requiring newspaper publishers to censor any content that it believes may breach the country's anti-terrorism law, noting that publishers who fail to do so will face cancellation of their printing contracts. All newspaper publishers have been directed to agree to the new terms before any further publications can be printed.
Internet freedom in Ethiopia is severely curtailed. The Open Net Initiative (ONI) notes that filtering related to political content as well as so-called security or conflict-related content is subject to substantial filtering. Furthermore, ONI notes that at 0.5%, Ethiopia’s internet penetration is the second-lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. The government’s refusal to allow privatization of the telecommunications market is a major factor preventing wider internet access; the state-owned Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation remains the sole provider of internet access, allowing the government tight control over content. OSI notes that internet cafes are the main source of internet access. Ethiopians report that their internet activities are closely monitored in internet cafes, where since 2006 owners have been required to log the names and addresses of individual customers – these lists are to be turned over to the police. The consequences for noncompliance by café owners range from shutdown to prison time. Recent incidents of internet censorship include the April 2012 blocking within Ethiopia of the Amharic website of leading independent weekly “The Reporter.”
Members of the political opposition face frequent arbitrary arrest and detention in Ethiopia. Following its 2011 review of Ethiopia’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Human Rights Committee
expressed serious concerns regarding the continued imposition of the death penalty by courts “for crimes which appear to have a political dimension, as well as following in-abstentia trials without adequate legal safeguards (arts. 6 and 14).” Mere days after meeting with a visiting Amnesty International team in August 2011, two political opposition members were arrested. Bekele Gerba, deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and Olbana Lelisa of the Oromo People’s
Congress party (OPC) were both arrested on 27 August, 2011 and accused of terrorrelated offenses. An Amnesty International representative noted that the arrests “are indicative of the constant harassment of opposition politicians, and severe stifling of freedom of expression in the country”. On the same day as the arrests, the Amnesty International delegation was called into a meeting with the government and ordered to leave the country. In April 2012 Human Rights Watch representative Laetitia Barder was quoted by the Christian Science Monitor stating the organization’s belief that hundreds of individuals were detained in Ethiopia last year, and that the practice of arbitrary detention appears to be widespread. In May 2012, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights approved a resolution expressing alarm at Ethiopia's prosecution of journalists and political opposition members, and calling on Ethiopia to remove the anti-terrorism law's restrictions on freedom of expression.
The implementation of the 2009 CSO Proclamation has also had a negative effect on the freedom of expression in Ethiopia.
Read full report here : http://www.upr-info.org/followup/session6/ethiopia/MIA-Ethiopia.pdf