Unesco “delivery” Guillermo Cano Prize for freedom of press to Reeyot Alemu

Ms Alemu deserves our praise together with other journalists who defend freedoms we enjoy everyday

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova

May 3, 2013

Ms Alemu was today awarded the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2013 at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day in San Jose, Costa Rica. I am grateful to witness this as the world recognized a woman who has been held under the vague Ethiopia Anti-Terrorism law.

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Alemu’s photo represented her as well as person from International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) who collected the award and gave us Alemu’s short worded speech.

Reeyot Alemu talked about the imprisoning of journalists and worried “the situation wont improve until EPRDF leaves power.” She asked, “who will expose the unpleasant truths of those in power if not journalists? Reeyot in her speech said “I call on you to do everything you can 2 stop suppression of press.” Reeyot Alemu’s representative says she’s suffering from bad health and constant threats of solitary confinement

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The chair of the jury that awarded her the prize partly explained the decision was based on the fact that Ethiopia is top in countries with the most number of journalists in jails and wanted to highlight their plight.
Ethiopia has the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists in Africa – seven, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, after their oppressive neighbor Eritrea at least 28.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said that Ms Alemu deserves our praise together with other journalists who defend freedoms we enjoy everyday.

To end impunity of a regime is a tough task as the same party remained in power in Addis Ababa after the death of Meles Zenawi. Hope this award and many more efforts will increase the pressure on Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to end this impunity and give more space for freedom of expression and media freedom.

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