Ethiopia: Africa’s only media friendly country

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Ethiopia receives praise for improving media conditions

‘I hope Ethiopia will be ranked in the top 20 for press freedom,’ says UN agency head

Addis Getachew Tadesse,

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: The head of a UN agency said Thursday she hopes Ethiopia will leap next year into a top spot for press freedom.

“I hope Ethiopia will be ranked in the top 20 for press freedom,” said Vera Songwe, who heads the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Ethiopia jumped 40 places in an international ranking by Reporters Without Borders, a French NGO and other international organizations, according to Songwe, who spoke at the opening of World Press Freedom Day on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital.

The country is ranked 110 in the world for press freedom, up from a near-bottom position.

African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Thomas Kwesi Quartey praised Ethiopia for notable achievements in reforming aspects of government functions.

“It was one year of remarkable reform,” Quartey said of the wide-ranging reforms undertaken by Ethiopia since last 2018, including security, governance, military and media.

Ethiopia had been previously criticized as one of the harshest countries for the way journalists are treated but it is now receiving accolades as a country where no journalist is behind bars.

Assistant Professor Mekuria Mekasha at the School of Journalism and Communication at Addis Ababa University told Anadolu Agency that World Press Freedom Day 2019 impressed upon governments that they could not ignore the media and its role as a watchdog.

“It also came as an occasion urging journalists to live up to their responsibilities in using their media platforms,” he said.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993. It celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, assesses the state of press freedom throughout the world, defends the media from attacks on their independence and pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty

The day was organized jointly by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Ethiopian Government.

It saw attendance of thousands of journalists from across the world, NGO representatives and officials from government and regional and international organizations.


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