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Opposition media find their voices again in Ethiopia

The government of Ethiopia looks set to welcome back opposition media which had been shut out of the cyber space for some remarkable length of time

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The government of Ethiopia looks set to welcome back opposition media which had been shut out of the cyber space for some remarkable length of time.

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

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”.

Freedom of expression is a foundational right that other rights depend on. #Ethiopia has opened access to 264 blocked websites/bloggers/ ESAT and OMN. A free flow of information is essential for engaged & responsible citizenry. 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.

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EU agrees sanctions framework for actors linked to Sudan war— Sources

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Sources close to developments in Sudan have revealed that European Union ambassadors on Monday agreed on a framework of sanctions against actors linked to the ongoing crisis in the country.

The proposal for sanctions was submitted in July, but it was not approved until Monday. Later this month, the EU’s foreign ministers will give their final approval before the bloc can begin adding people and organisations to the list.

The sanctions are likely to be in the form of asset seizures and travel bans, similar to measures already taken by the United States, Britain, Norway and Germany, who all plan to submit a motion to the United Nations Human Rights Council to set up an investigation into alleged atrocities in Sudan, including ethnically motivated killings, a draft motion showed on Friday.

Last week, The US continued its sanctions on persons of interest in the crisis as it imposed sanctions on two companies, including one based in Russia, and one person. The move is the latest in sanctions imposed by Washington following a conflict that erupted in mid-April between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over proposals for a political transition and the incorporation of the RSF into the military, four years after long-time ruler, Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in an uprising.

The United Kingdom has also penalised at least six commercial entities in relation to the conflict which has rendered more than 5 million people displaced and killed hundreds.

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Tunisian opposition leader, Ghannouchi to begin hunger strike in prison

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has threatened to begin a hunger strike in captivity.

Ghannouchi’s party, Ennahda made the announcement in a statement on Friday, stating that the 82-year-old fierce critic of President Kais Saied, has now decided to stay without food.

Ghannouchi was convicted in absentia in May after his refusal to appear before judges on the grounds that the accusations were false and the prosecution was politically motivated.

Along with other jailed opposition figures, who accuse Saied of a coup for closing the elected parliament and implementing rule by decree, he is also accused of planning against state security.

Since coming into power, President Saied has been firm on dissenting voices in the country. More than 20 political personalities, including Ghannouchi, have been detained by the police this year on suspicion of attempting to undermine state security.

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