Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Restrictions on press freedom in Ethiopia : an historical analysis of Ethiopian laws and compliance with international law
Author: Bekele, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 665X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis offers a historical analysis of press law in Ethiopia and examines the extent to which the current legal framework for freedom of expression and press freedom complies with constitutional guarantees and international human rights conventions. Following the political transition in 1991, Ethiopia made perhaps a major stride with accession to the International Bill of Human Rights and adopting a new constitution which should have been a powerful foundation for securing freedom of expression and media freedom. However, the EPRDF regime that led the making of a new constitution and accession to the international human rights covenants earned itself the infamous reputation as one of the world's leading jailer of journalists and predator of free press. At the heart of this paradox is the contradiction between constitutional guarantees for press freedom and restrictive subsidiary laws inherited from the past. Contrary to commonly held assumptions that press freedom was introduced to Ethiopia in the 1991 political transition and accession to international human rights covenants, this thesis uncovers the emergence of press freedom in Ethiopia as well as its traditional foundations well before 1991 and the international covenants. However, the analysis also shows how several of the current repressive and restrictive laws are directly inherited from the imperial and military rule period laws which are inconsistent with international standards. Despite the new constitution, the current legal framework continues legal antecedents and a pattern of restrictive and repressive laws adopted by the successive imperial and the military regimes. The historical analysis is critical for understanding the current laws. The thesis, therefore, documents the history of printing and press work in Ethiopia starting from the early traditional foundations to demonstrate freedom of expression as an indigenous concept and the birth of free press in Ethiopia at the beginning of the 20th century and the emergence of press restrictive laws in the 1930's. Since then, there has been a persistent popular demand to reclaim press freedom which is initially heeded by the successive political regimes but systematically rolled back as the regimes consolidate political power. The thesis also identifies the necessary legislative reform to create an enabling legal environment for freedom of expression and press freedom in Ethiopia. The new political transition in Ethiopia since April 2018 offers yet another historical opportunity to implement this legislative reform.
Supervisor: O'Regan, Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethiopia Press Law ; Ethiopia Media Law ; Media Freedom in Ethiopia ; Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia