Fifth Anniversary of the Suppression of the Free Press

(Eskinder Nega, Addis Ababa)

November 01 2010 marks half a decade since Ethiopia’s long-anticipated   backslide to a long enduring norm of intellectual repression and  inertia. But, alas, even the short respite—twelve years— from the historical norm was distinguished by the resistance of the powers that  be to a budding intellectual renaissance spearheaded by a fiercely independent print media.

The trials and tribulation of Ethiopia’s journalists as they were  imprisoned, tortured, beaten and exiled became, next to the permanent fixture of hunger, one of the most recurrent stories to come out of Ethiopia. No government as that of Ethiopia has more frequently and wantonly clampdown against journalists and still ended up with a far more militant press than before. Nowhere in the world have journalists demonstrated more courage and commitment for freedom of the press.

Little surprise then that, finally, dropping all democratic pretenses, the government was to throw in the towel on November 01 2005 and shut down the entirety of the free press. It was time for the EPRDF to conceded defeat. One more time in history, the moral fortitude of the pen prevailed over the might of the gun.

Finally, the EPRDF stood unmasked before the world: Patently Autocratic!!

And five years later, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the NEWSPAPERS shut down and EVERY SINGLE JOURNALSIT that worked for them remain barred.

The tally of these historic weekly newspapers runs:

Tuesday papers:

1.      Addis Zena

2.      Asqual

Wednesday Papers

1.      Ethiop

2.      Tomar

3.      Tikusat

Thursday Papers

1.      Tobia

2.      Netsant

3.      Hadar

Friday Papers

1.      Seyfe Nebelbal

2.      Lisane Hizb

3.      Menelik

Saturday Papers

1. Mezenagna

2. Abay

3. Moged

Sunday Papers

1.      Satenaw

What makes this fifth marking of the suppression of the press is the conviction of most banned journalists that the most difficult days are now behind us. We look forward with a renewed sense of optimism. No repression lasts indefinitely. Truth and time are on our side. We will be vindicated. And we shall never give up!!

We shall return! This is a promise!!!

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10 Responses to “Fifth Anniversary of the Suppression of the Free Press”

  1. ግርማ ሞገስ 2 November 2010 at 3:05 am

    I share the conviction and optimism expressed by Eskinder!

  2. I just finished reading Addis Fortune’s Editorial and its ‘Fine Line’ and burniung inside out before I came to your piece here.For how long would one sell body and soul just to survive and or for money?

    Thanks God! We have you with this indomitable spirit ,the spirit ‘INVICTUS’, the spirit of Macarthur on the other end of the spectrum.

  3. Eskindir once again you forced me to look forward with optimism. As you have said it beautifully “… One more time in history, the moral fortitude of the pen prevailed over the might of the gun. … No repression lasts indefinitely.” Truth and time are on Eskindir’s, Abiye’s, Sisay’s, Dawit’s and Fasil’s … side. We will be vindicated. And we shall never give up!!

  4. One day freedom of speech will prevail when the thugs in Menelik palace come to their senses or go away for good.

  5. It is reassuring to see that you avow to persevere and persist. I hope your assertion is serious and shared by other fellow journalists.

  6. Oh Eskinder, there are a few like you; your intellectual honesty, your refusal to succumb to fear and trepidation, your depth in thoughts and your indifference to the ethnicized reporting common among so called journalists are some of the qualities i respect you for. When i converse with my colleagues, i feel at ease quoting you than any other journalist in the country. Please keep up the good work! We are proud of you!

  7. Dear Eskindir,

    When I always think about you as a journalist I feel the extent of helplessness that Ethiopian journalists are. Journalists report about events, analyze the causes of an event and trends, justify or defy actions, serve as the mouth of victims, popularize achievements etc. But when any thing happens to them they are little or no reciprocated. Isn’t this more than saddening? I feel this is what happening to you. Yet, you show such extraordinary optimism. I respect your commitment and courage. Keep up with this mood and intensity.


  8. ‘Long live ‘to all journalist who serve the truth and nurture our conscious!

  9. My admiration for Eskindir and Serkalem is limitless.
    I am ashamed of myself when I see what they, the only children of Ethiopia, are doing.

    Long live the brave children of Ethiopia.
    No doubt, the killers and the hodams
    will pay for all their actions.

  10. Keep the dream alive Eskinder. Better to die fighting than to live on your knees. That is what you are doing. Unfortunately in Ethiopia people like you are endangered species. This is the era of those who do not know what human dignity is. They can not see beyond their animal instincts. What dark days are we in where the norm is considered extraordinair and the bottom is up. We are sinkning into a bottomeless pit which TPLF is digging.

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