The May 2005 election is a turning point for Ethiopian political sphere, so is for the Freedom of Expression in the country. The election ended with electoral board’s announcement that the incumbent is a winner of the election which oppositions called rigged. Major opposition of the time, CUD, supporters went out in the streets to protest which had ended in death of nearly 200 people when the government tried to crackdown.
EPRDF, the ruling coalition, said it took lessons from the election in its news outlet ‘Abiyotawi Democracy’. In the first term of five years since the election, many changes of control were effected against the people. Apparently, Freedom of Expression is the first of the most victims. Here are a few of the systematic approaches the government used to ban the freedom.
Rule By Law
Controversial proclamations for violating constitutional rights were passed during the first term of post 2005 election. Among these are included the amendment of the Press Proclamation, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Civil-Societies Proclamation. The latter one entirely banned the role of civil societies in ‘rights’-related activities where as the former two contained articles that limited freedom of expression given in article 29 of the Ethiopian constitution.
Since these proclamations were passed, at least eight journalists are convicted in relation to terrorism and if you ask any ordinary citizen whether or not these journalists are terrorists, the most probable answer is definitely ‘No!’.