May 1, 2012

New law further applies the squeeze on Ethiopia’s Press

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 8:20 pm
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Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi’s government has been accused of seeking to stifle the populous country’s independent press with a new directive that will have publishers take responsibility for any questionable content out of their presses. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |
By ARGAW ASHINEPosted Tuesday, May 1  2012 at  10:52
The Ethiopian government has activated a highly restrictive directive that authorises printers to censor the content of newspapers and other publications that roll off their presses.

The new legal directive forces printers to take responsibility over the contents of anything that they publish.

The rule directly authorises the printing house to institute pre-publishing censoring and must remove any content which may be defined as “illegal” by the government.

State-owned Birhanena Selam Printing Enterprise (BSPE) is the only printing house in Ethiopia equipped with the technological capacity to publish newspapers and has already circulated the new agreement for its customers to sign.

Its general manager declined to comment on the issue.



However a group of newspaper owners have strongly opposed the move and established an ad-hoc committee to co-ordinate the protest.

“It is a clear indication of a government plan to eliminate any critical reporting and the Ethiopian press industry faces another wave of crackdowns,” a publisher who sought anonymity for fear of reprisal told this reporter.

According to the new agreement, the printing house has a right to refuse to publish any sensitive content they find that would entail legal or any other responsibilities.


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