Tag Archives: Hate speech draft law

Ethiopian Lawmakers Urge Repeal of Hate Speech Bill

3 Jan

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO) 

ADDIS ABEBA (Ethiopia Monitor, Jan 2, 2020) Local rights groups and civic organizations said the draft Hate Speech and Misinformation law, if ratified, could easily be abused just like anti-terror law.

They urged for the lawmakers to repeal the bill in a discussion held on Wednesday despite MPs push for the bill to be stringiest than it is last month.

The draft law was a subject of a public hearing called by the lower house of the parliament Legal, Justice and Democratic Affairs Standing Committee on Wednesday.

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Ethiopia, the scourge of ‘hate speech’ & American social media

10 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by David Kaye*

While Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is in Stockholm to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, you might think that the people of Ethiopia would be abuzz with conversation and pride about this achievement. After all, Abiy has done something most thought inconceivable just a couple of years ago: initiated peace with Eritrea and, more important for day-to-day life in Ethiopia, ended the dark repression of the past quarter century.

Yet the buzz is elsewhere, the air full of talk of reform — and the threats to it. During a week-long mission to Ethiopia, I found that, at the top of everyone’s list of concerns is social media’s growing power and dissemination of hate speech and disinformation.

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UN expert urges Ethiopia to stop shutting down internet

9 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Elias Meseret, APress correspondent

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A United Nations expert on the freedom of expression said he has urged Ethiopian officials to stop shutting down the internet.

David Kaye, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, told reporters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, that he is concerned with the frequent internet shutdowns carried out by the government.

“I’ve also experienced an internet shut down here in Ethiopia in the past week,” he said, referring to a brief shutdown on Dec. 5 that Ethiopian officials said was to stop a cyber-attack targeting the country’s financial institutions.

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UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye on the right to freedom of opinion & expression: End of Ethiopia mission statement

9 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

From 2 to 9 December, at the invitation of the Government, I conducted the first mission to Ethiopia by a mandate-holder of the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures since 2006. Throughout the mission, in which I evaluated the situation of freedom of opinion and expression in the country today, I met with Government officials, members of Parliament and the Judiciary, human rights defenders and academics in civil society, journalists, students and other participants in the rapid legal, institutional and political change taking place in Ethiopia today. At the end of a productive and illuminating visit, for which the Government offered considerable support and facilitation, and for which I offer my gratitude, I express my hope that this is the first of a long list of such visits, by my mandate and other UN experts reporting to the Human Rights Council. I supply further details and background at the conclusion of this statement.

 

I.  Introduction

 

Ethiopia is a vast and diverse country marked by the excitement, uncertainty and, in some quarters, fear of what one close observer called “tectonic” shifts in the institutional, legal and political environments. Beginning in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ended the state of emergency, released journalists, activists and opposition figures from prison, legalized civil society organizations, and halted rampant government censorship. His Government continued with the launch of a formal process of legal and institutional reform, introducing a public participatory process of legislative drafting and advice that should be a model for democratic processes worldwide. Applying this model, Ethiopia has adopted a progressive law on civil society organizations and is in the process of considering other laws related to media and access to information, counter-terrorism, and computer crime. In May, Addis Ababa played host to World Press Freedom Day, unthinkable just a year earlier.

Nothing should take away from the progress, promise, and boldness of this transformation, as long as the Government invests in it the commitment and momentum of its early days. The world community should support it where it can and, where appropriate, with robust diplomatic and financial contributions. While everyone involved should recognize that there may be bumps along the road to reform, there can be no turning back to the era of repression that ruled Ethiopia for over a quarter century.

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