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Ethiopia unblocks censored TV and websites

Fitsum Arega: "only a free market of ideas will lead to the truth"

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A senior Ethiopian official says the country has opened access to 264 blocked websites and TV broadcasters

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Fitsum Arega, who is the prime minister’s chief of staff, said in his tweet that "freedom of expression is a foundational right" and "essential for engaged and responsible" citizens. He added that "only a free market of ideas will lead to the truth".

Among the broadcasters allowed back on air are the US-based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network (OMN). Both TV stations were charged in absentia for inciting violence and promoting terror, but the charges were dropped a few weeks ago.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April with a pledge to open up the airwaves, even calling on foreign-based opposition TV broadcasters to open offices in Ethiopia.

One broadcaster - the US-based OMN station - has sent a team to establish a office in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia has been accused of blocking foreign-based TV and radio broadcasts, websites and blogposts from being accessed in the country for many years by different human rights and press freedom groups.

source: BBC

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