BBC Radio to broadcast in heavily-censored media space

Expression

BBC Radio announced in late January 2018 that it will begin broadcasting news, current affairs, features, and English language training for Ethiopians and Eritreans on Monday to Friday in Amharic, Afaan, Oromo and Tigrinya languages. As Eritrea remains one of the most heavily-censored countries in the world with highly-restricted airwaves, the programmes will be broadcast via shortwave and satellite, and available for streaming on the BBC's Facebook.

Eritrea was once again ranked as one of the worst countries for political freedom in Freedom House’s 2018 Freedom in the World Index, released on 16th January 2018. Of the 49 countries ranked as ‘Not Free’, Eritrea is third to last on the list. The Washington DC-based NGO described the country as a “hermetic police state”. Human Rights Watch’s 2018 World Report highlighted similar concerns, noting a complete lack of free expression and association with no independent civil society organisations or media outlets. According to Amnesty International’s 2017/18 Annual Report, thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, including former politicians, journalists and practitioners of unauthorised religions, remain in detention in Eritrea without formal charges, a free and fair trial, or access to lawyers or family members.

Tags: censorship