Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed has reiterated his government’s commitment to fostering freedom of the media and the press.
The Premier made the remark during his address at the official ceremony of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize dinner held last night in Addis Ababa at the Sheraton Addis.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) yesterday awarded its peace prize to PM Dr Abiy for his commendable work in pursuit of peace.
In his remark, the PM also touched on a fundamental shift made in policy since April 2018 to establish a truly democratic political order and transform the media landscape.
Over two hundreds news websites and blogs that had been blocked were opened up, media entities that had been charged under the infamous anti-terrorism-law were also given amnesty and allowed to return to Ethiopia, he said.
Newspapers and magazines that had been banned from operating are back in business, he said.
Twenty-three new media organizations have registered and received media license; several new newspapers and dozens of weekly magazines have also registered as well as TV channels that have since launched and in operation.
The Prime Minister called on media establishments and citizen journalists to seize the current enabling environment and use their voice and pen with ethical considerations.
“We need to ensure that the opening up of the media space does not facilitate misinformation, the spread of hate speech and fake news,” he said.
The 2019 World Press Freedom Day celebration is currently taking place at African Union (AU) headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The event which is being held under the theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in times of Disinformation,” brought together more than 2,000 participants from over 95 countries.
In her opening remark, President Sahle-Work Zewde, said “we are happy to host the conference,” and thanked the organizers for selecting Ethiopia for this global event.