General situation

The ongoing armed conflict in Ethiopia has extended from Tigray to neighbouring regions Afar and Amhara, while armed incidents and local-level violence has also been reported in other regions, namely South and West Oromia, as well as Benishangul-Gumuz. On 10th September 2021, a group of 24 CSOs called for a cessation of hostilities. The group of CSOs urged the government to engage in peace talks and reconciliation efforts.

Expression

On 21st July 2021, Addis Standard resumed its online publication following an agreement reached with the Ethiopian Media Authority (EMA) on 19th July 2021. As previously reported on the Monitor, Addis Standard temporarily closed following the withdrawal of its licence by the EMA. The media outlet was accused of publishing content that advanced the “terrorist group” TPLF’s agenda.

On 9th August 2021, the federal police commissioner released ten Awlo Media staff members from detention after they provided their identity cards. The ten staff members included eight people from the editorial team, one from the human resource department, and a legal adviser. Four other journalists; Bekalu Alamrew and Fanuel Kinfu from Awlo Media, and Abebe Bayu and Yayesew Shimeles from Ethio Forum remained in detention awaiting trial set to begin on 10th and 12th August 2021. Following an application for bail during their trial proceedings, on 17th August 2021, the four were released by the District Court in Afar on 5,000 ETB ($108) bond each. As previously reported on the Monitor, the federal police raided and arrested 12 staff members from Awlo Media and two other journalists working with Ethio Forum, a YouTube media outlet, on 30th June 2021. The journalists had reported on the Tigray conflict and were accused of being affiliated with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

On 24th August 2021, the federal police arrested Tsegaye Hagos, an editor at The Herald, at his office. On 8th September 2021, the judge remanded Hagos and granted the federal police 14 days to investigate their claims that Hagos is leaking information to Dimitsi Weyane, an Ethiopian news-based television and radio network headquartered in Mekelle, Tigray. As previously reported by the Monitor, Hagos was previously arrested on 7th November 2020 together with two other journalists, and accused of “collaborating” with the TPLF.