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A booster shot for Media freedom in Ethiopia

29 April 2021
1:00 pm, GMT

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day was founded on the 3rd May 30 years ago in Africa with the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. In 2019, Ethiopia was the host of World Press Freedom Day in acknowledgment of the government’s commitment to media freedom.

Two years later Ethiopia has seen a pandemic of fake news, disinformation, election fever and insurrection.

The International Observatory of Human Rights in collaboration with EILCO is hosting a webinar that seeks to examine:

  • Can Ethiopia build up enough immunity to ensure its foundations for media freedom are underpinned by strong institutions?
  • Will journalists, media and internet platforms commit to professional ethics to build trust and transparency to inoculate against fake news?
  • What is the role of the international community in supporting the recovery of media freedom to deliver information as a common good?

Speakers

Kanbar Hossein-Bor

Director of the Media Freedom Campaign UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Kanbar Hossein-Bor was appointed deputy director for Democratic Governance in April 2021 in addition to his role at the helm as UK Coordinator for the global media freedom campaign. Kanbar was previously the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh since January 2018 and held a number of posts, both as a lawyer and diplomat, including in the Netherlands (UK agent to International Court of Justice), Iraq (head of the human rights team), Libya (head of Libya team) and Liberia, where he was briefly deployed as Head of Mission during the Ebola crisis. Before joining the Foreign Office as a lawyer, Kanbar practiced constitutional and criminal law as a barrister and is a Lord Denning and Kennedy Scholar with Lincoln’s Inn. Kanbar speaks Balochi, Farsi and Arabic.

Jeremy Dear

Under-Secretary-General for the International Federation of Journalists

Jeremy Dear has been Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists since April 2016. Prior to taking up the role, he spent 15 years as President, National Organiser and General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland and has worked as a staff and freelance newspaper and magazine journalist in Europe and Latin America, specialising in labour rights, social affairs and media freedom.

Yonatan Tesfaye

Deputy Director-General of the Ethiopian Media Authority

Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa is a new appointee as Deputy Director-General of the Ethiopian Media Authority and has been engaged in various reform agendas, particularly the proclamation amendment consultations in the last three years (including the recently approved Media Proclamation: 1238/2021). Before Dr Abiy Ahmed’s government came to power in Ethiopia in 2018, Yontan was a vocal and outspoken senior opposition politician with the Semayawi/Blue Party as an Executive Committee Member and Head of Public Relation Affairs. Yonatan was sent to prison by EPRDF for two and half years for advocating freedom of speech/expression.

Mihret Aschalew

Project manager for BBC Media Action PRIMED in Ethiopia

Mihret is a project manager for the BBC Media Action PRIMED (protecting independent media for effective development) project however she has been practising journalism for the past thirteen years in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, most recently as Broadcast Journalist at the BBC Amharic and Horn of Africa service based in Nairobi. Previously, Mihret spent ten years at Ethiopia’s independent The Reporter (biweekly Amharic & weekly English) newspaper as senior editor. A masters graduate from Addis Ababa University in journalism and communication in 2015. Mihret studied her BA in political science and international relations at Addis Ababa University and a project planning and management course at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest and a well-Known University in East Africa.

Fasika Tadesse

Ex Editor in Chief of Addis Fortune newspaper

Fasika Tadesse is a journalist and an editor with experience working in the media production industry for over 8 years. She was the former editor in chief of Addis Fortune Newspaper and also worked for Reuters. Fasika studied Journalism and Communications at Addis Abba University.

IOHR in partnership with EILCO


This webinar seeks to examine:

  • How can the Ethiopian government protect the integrity of the newly formed institutional apparatus to protect media independence, accuracy and transparency against the backdrop of journalists being detained, internet blackouts and international condemnation over Tigray?
  • What should international and local media organisations be doing to support trust in journalists?
  • What needs to be in place to deliver on the promise of media freedom versus maintaining control to stop violence erupting?
  • How can the Ethiopian diaspora keep media freedom from being swamped by fake news?

EILCO – Ethiopian Institute For Leadership, Communication and Organisation provides training and consultancy in the fields of leadership, media, press and communication, public, civic and military organisation.

Ethiopian Digest – An online media outlet where current Ethiopian socio, economic and political affairs are discussed in depth.

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