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UPR Session 33

Ethiopia

Review Date: 14 May 2019
 

After a period of change, Ethiopia has an opportunity to radically reform laws to protect citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and his political reform agenda have kickstarted a process of transformation in politics and society in Ethiopia. After a long period during which the state exercised tight control over all forms of media, proposed reforms offer a golden opportunity to realise Ethiopians citizens’ rights to freedom of expression.

Yet laws limiting freedom of expression remain in force, including the 2008 Mass Media and Freedom of Information Law, which leaves media houses open to fines of up to USD 3,500 on the basis of ‘defamation’ claims, and gives public prosecutors license to censor content without oversight. Other problematic legislation includes the 2009 Anti Terrorism Law, the Computer Crime Law of 2016 and Telecom Fraud Offences (2012), all containing provisions at odds with freedom of expression and privacy standards.

The Ethiopia government supported nearly 70% of the 421 recommendations they received during their 1st and 2nd cycle UPR sessions.

 
 
1

The number of recommendations made to Ethiopia during the 1st and 2nd cycles that explicitly cover freedom of expression online or digital rights.

32

The number of recommendations made to Ethiopia during the 1st and 2nd cycles that implicitly cover freedom of expression online or digital rights.

 
 
 
 

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Recommendations

 
Desist from the throttling or shutdown of Internet communications on any basis, including national security, protests, or national exams
Revise the Anti-Terrorism Law, Computer Crime Law and Telecom Fraud Offences Law to bring them into line with international standards relating to freedom of expression
Amend the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Act to bring it into line with international standards with regard to freedom of expression
Implement changes to curb state surveillance of citizens, including by introducing independent judicial oversight over the interception of communications
 
 
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