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Ethiopia: A New Dawn for Press Freedom?

Ethiopia is at a tipping point for democracy and with it press freedom. Following the dramatic rise to power of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, his administration enacted democratic reforms, freed journalists and opponents, unblocked 264 websites and allowed banned TV stations to operate. Ethiopia was one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world. Many journalists who were imprisoned are on a personal journey towards press freedom. Award-winning journalists Woubshet Taye, Zone-9 blogger Befekadu Hailu and 90 year old Yacob Wolde-Mariam reflect on the progress from the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie to the ‘new era’ of media literacy, fake news and a new wave of journalist arrests. Will the newly awarded Nobel Peace Laureate be able to maintain the balance between national security and civil liberties in this new dawn for Ethiopia?

The short documentary has been produced for the International Observatory of Human Rights,

  • Margherita Cargasacchi
  • Margherita Cargasacchi
  • Margherita Cargasacchi
  • Kumerra Gemechu
  • Margherita Cargasacchi
  • Neil Williams
    Associate Producers
  • Christine Meiler
    Art Direction, Design, Animation & Post Production
  • Reuters
    Archival Footage
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    27 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 25, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • The International Observatory of Human Rights
Director Biography - Margherita Cargasacchi

Margherita Cargasacchi is a journalist and producer undertaking the human rights web-TV platform at the International Observatory of Human Rights. Previously, she worked for four years for Corriere del Veneto, the regional edition of the main Italian daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera. Margherita obtained her Master’s Degree in International and Broadcast Journalism from the City University, London.

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Director Statement

This is an issue that deserves attention. There will be elections in 2020 Ethiopia and even now, the situation for journalists has changed to the worse compared to the progress made with Abiy Ahmed.
This short documentary is very topical: screening it during this particular time for Ethiopia, will hopefully raise awareness on the situation in the country. Severe human rights violations are still occurring in the sight of the newly awarded Nobel Peace Prize, PM Abiy Ahmed. The fact that the documentary is attracting interest from many film festivals makes me feel proud that through my work, I have contributed to tell the stories of those journalists, like Woubshet Taye, that risk their lives for the freedom of expression of us all.

Last year about 95 journalists in the world lost their lives, according to the International Federation of Journalists and this year, at least 236 are in prison. We are seeing strong attacks on the press even in democratic systems, such as Italy and the United States.