The apparatus of censorship in Ethiopia is vast and freedom of expression is seriously restricted, particularly during general elections and protests. In August 2017, the government finally lifted a 10 month state of emergency, which had given them broad powers to restrict rights following protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions in 2016. Both regions have seen serious crackdowns on the right to free expression and protest, as the government has sought to silence dissent through the use of excessive force to quell protests. Free expression by political activists, opposition members, human rights defenders and journalists remains severely restricted, and they frequently face threats, arbitrary detention and criminal charges. The government also engages in surveillance of dissidents, as well as blocking websites and social media platforms and at certain points implementing internet shutdowns.
A number of restrictive laws, particularly the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, Computer Crime Proclamation, and the Charities and Societies Proclamation are frequently used in these efforts to repress free expression.
ARTICLE 19 works to highlight violations in the country through engagement with both UN and African Union bodies and mechanisms, and advocates for the repeal of these type of repressive laws. We campaign for the release of bloggers, journalists and human rights defenders, and monitor digital threats and surveillance tactics.