By Rachael Levy/CPJ
In April, the Ethiopian government imprisoned nine journalists, including six bloggers from Zone 9, in one of the worst crackdowns against free expression in the country. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, trailing only Eritrea, according to CPJ research.
Ethiopian government officials accuse the Zone 9 bloggers of working with foreign human rights organizations and using social media to create instability in Ethiopia. The group wrote about political repression and social injustice, and their blogs were frequently blocked inside the country. Two months after their arrests, they have yet to be officially charged.
Endalkachew H/Michael, one of the co-founders of Zone 9, is pursuing his doctorate in media studies at the University of Oregon and spoke with CPJ about press freedom in Ethiopia.
What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation. You can view CPJ’s Storify on the bloggers here.