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IOHR’s short film “Ethiopia: A New Dawn for Press Freedom” to be screened at Lift-Off’s First-Time Filmmakers Film Festival

26 June 2020

“Ethiopia: A New Dawn for Press Freedom” a short film produced by The International Observatory of Human rights has been selected to be screened at Lift-Off’s prestigious First-Time Filmmakers Sessions June 2020.

Produced by the International Observatory of Human Rights, this short documentary tells the story of press freedom in Ethiopia, from the times of harsh censorship to the achievements reached under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and newly appointed Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed and back to the most recent jailing of journalists.

The film was shot in May 2019 when IOHR travelled to Ethiopia for World Press Freedom Day. This event was organised by UNESCO in Addis Ababa in recognition of the extraordinary turnaround of press freedom in the country following the election of Dr Abiy Ahmed. It was the first time since 2004 no journalists were incarcerated, 264 websites were unblocked and banned TV stations were allowed to operate.

Margherita Cargasacchi, IOHR journalist and the film’s director said:

“I feel honoured that our film has been selected as screening it during this particular time will hopefully raise awareness on the situation in Ethiopia where severe human rights violations are still occurring. The fact that the documentary is attracting interest from many film festivals makes me feel proud that through this film we are able tell the stories of these brave journalists, like Woubshet Taye, that risk their lives for the freedom of expression of us all.”

The film features renowned voices of journalism and press freedom on a domestic and international level, including award-winning journalists Woubshet Taye, Zone-9 blogger Befekadu Hailu and 90-year-old Yacob Wolde-Mariam who reflect on the progress from the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie to the ‘new era’ of media literacy, fake news and a new wave of journalist arrests.

Valerie Peay, Director of the International Observatory of Human Rights, who worked on the film in Ethiopia said:

“The unique model of our NGO is built mostly on relying on digital and multi-media mediums to bring the focus on key pillar of our mission such press freedom and advocating for the safety of journalists–a core to our DNA. We are proud to have launched IOHRTV the first human rights web television platform last year to ensure our advocacy messages reach the widest target audiences in creative and impactful ways like this film.”

IOHR’s film was submitted to the First-Time Filmmaker Sessions June 2020 part of a quarterly event that aims to showcase and guide emerging talent from around the world. Held at the world-famous Pinewood Studios in the UK, the day-long event features multiple demonstrations from industry experts, catered to the selected filmmakers, as well as a screening of each selected film.

To vote for our film please click HERE

Voting Deadline: Sunday 28th June.
You can vote by first writing ‘VOTED’ in the comments section, followed by the name of my film ‘Ethiopia: A New Dawn for Press Freedom?’ and the name of another film.

You can watch the full film below: 

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