The Impact of Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Law on Freedom of Expression
Proceeding of 5th International Conference of PhD Students and Young Researchers, (2017 p.393-404), Vilnius University Faculty of Law (International Network of Doctoral Studies in Law).
14 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 25, 2017
This article analyses the impact of Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and information. Ethiopia recognized the right to freedom of expression and information by ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1993. It also recognizes the right to freedom of expression and other scores of civil and political rights under its constitution of 1995. However, the anti-terrorism law of 2009 contains overly broad and vague definitions of terrorism that are susceptible to misinterpretation and misapplication, which adversely affect the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and political opposition. In practice, the government of Ethiopia has used and abused the anti-terrorism law to stifle dissent and crack down on members of legal opposition parties, human rights activists, journalists, bloggers and the civil society who criticize the ruling party and its policies and practices. Although a proper application of anti-terrorism law is indispensable to counter threats of ‘terrorism’, the Ethiopian case demonstrates that the law can be misused as a tool of political repression. Ethiopia should revise the existing anti-terrorism law and stop using it to stifle dissent. Moreover, it should respect the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and information.
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