About Prof. Muse Tegegne

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change & Liberation in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Americas. He has obtained Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva. A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies. He wrote on the problematic of the Horn of Africa extensively. And Lecture at Mobile University..
Website: http://ethiopianism.net
Prof. Muse has written 348 articles so far, you can find them below.

Ethiopia in Arms way in Isreal

BY MITCH GINSBURG

Israeloriginal title – Mixed results for army’s Ethiopian integration program

IDF tells Knesset committee incarceration rates were down but that dishonorable discharge figures are rising.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.
————–
“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.
———–

The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday.

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.

“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.

The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

Bar-Lev scolded the army at the outset for sending him a copy of the new figures “eight and a half minutes” before the start of the session, and insisted that the drop in the number of male officers and the rise in the number dishonorable discharges suggested the army was taking credit for the improvements but deeming as inexplicable the setbacks. “You keep finding the coin under the beam of the flashlight,” he said.

There are currently 10 times more soldiers of Ethiopian heritage being dishonorably discharged than attending officers’ training school, he added.

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) asked Halpern what had become of the committee’s earlier recommendation to change the way soldiers from the community are put on trial, with an emphasis on higher-ranking officers meting out justice. “That is the sort of change we are looking for,” said Hasson, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet. Halpern replied that the army was still weighing the matter.

Ziva Mekonen Degu, the executive director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, lamented the army’s “segregationist” approach, adding that the solution to the problem can’t be based on skin color alone.

MK Penina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) told The Times of Israel in May that the Amir course, which is solely for members of the community, “is an embarrassment and a disgrace and a certificate of poverty.” Can you imagine this happening in the US Army, she asked, “a course only for African-Americans?”

Seated at the head of the committee’s large oval table, Bar-Lev ignored the charges of segregation and instead asked the army to prepare a plan for the successful re-entry of the soldiers into the civilian world. “In the end, most of the years that these young men and women serve the state are after their discharge,” he said, adding that bridging the gaps for these teens “is a social and security imperative of the first order.”

 

Ethiopians in Israeli Army ambivalent integration

BY MITCH GINSBURG

Israeloriginal title – Mixed results for army’s Ethiopian integration program

IDF tells Knesset committee incarceration rates were down but that dishonorable discharge figures are rising.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.
————–
“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.
———–

The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

The incarceration rate of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage has dropped considerably during the first half of 2014 as opposed to the same period in 2013, the army told a Knesset oversight committee on Sunday.

The overall figures, however, are still troubling, the army conceded, with the community still severely over-represented in army prisons and the dishonorable discharge rate hovering at 22.8 percent for men and 10.6% for women – both figures that have risen slightly over recent years and which are well above the national averages of 16.5% and 7.5% respectively.

“Although the figures do show a slight improvement, the gaps are still large and in certain realms there has even been a regression,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), a colonel in the IDF reserves and the chair of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that heard the IDF report on Sunday. The committee is closely monitoring the army’s progress in integrating the Ethiopian community successfully into its ranks.

Motivation to serve in the IDF is high among the 130,000 or so Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, IDF data indicated, with 89% of teenage boys and 57% of teenage girls joining the army.

The discrepancy between the desire to serve at the onset and the service record upon discharge has spurred the army into action. Early in 2013, the army’s first female major general, the recently retired commander of the IDF’s Manpower Division, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, set aside funds, despite across-the-board cuts in the army’s budget, for the establishment of a department devoted solely to the advancement of soldiers of Ethiopian heritage.

The army now runs a 24-hour call center in Hebrew and Amharic for soldiers, pre-draft teens and parents. It streamlined the process of requesting financial aid by requiring only the recommendation of an officer and an NCO, and not the bevy of bank statements required of other soldiers requesting assistance. It mandated yearly home visits by direct commanders, beginning no later than eight weeks after a soldier’s draft date. And, among a score of other measures, it launched a pre-army program solely for Israelis of Ethiopian heritage, AMIR, and began administering an alternative set of evaluation tests which gauge cognitive capacity rather than aptitude.

Maj. Hila Halpern, the commander of the new department, told the MKs that the new testing method had proven effective, enabling the army to post soldiers from the community to more challenging and interesting positions in the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps, among other units, and led to the corresponding drop in the incarceration rate, which fell over the past year from 10.8% to 9.1% – though the reduced figure is still more than double the community’s representation in the army at large.

Bar-Lev scolded the army at the outset for sending him a copy of the new figures “eight and a half minutes” before the start of the session, and insisted that the drop in the number of male officers and the rise in the number dishonorable discharges suggested the army was taking credit for the improvements but deeming as inexplicable the setbacks. “You keep finding the coin under the beam of the flashlight,” he said.

There are currently 10 times more soldiers of Ethiopian heritage being dishonorably discharged than attending officers’ training school, he added.

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) asked Halpern what had become of the committee’s earlier recommendation to change the way soldiers from the community are put on trial, with an emphasis on higher-ranking officers meting out justice. “That is the sort of change we are looking for,” said Hasson, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet. Halpern replied that the army was still weighing the matter.

Ziva Mekonen Degu, the executive director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, lamented the army’s “segregationist” approach, adding that the solution to the problem can’t be based on skin color alone.

MK Penina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) told The Times of Israel in May that the Amir course, which is solely for members of the community, “is an embarrassment and a disgrace and a certificate of poverty.” Can you imagine this happening in the US Army, she asked, “a course only for African-Americans?”

Seated at the head of the committee’s large oval table, Bar-Lev ignored the charges of segregation and instead asked the army to prepare a plan for the successful re-entry of the soldiers into the civilian world. “In the end, most of the years that these young men and women serve the state are after their discharge,” he said, adding that bridging the gaps for these teens “is a social and security imperative of the first order.”

 

US’s racial bar surfaced in Ferguson war front – “My Hands are up”

Police attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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It reminds   us  Baghdad war zone when American police attacks it own citizen with highly mechanized force.  The racial conflict that founds its root in African triangle slave trade seems slow down after the sacrifice of Martin Luther King Jr. in 60’s. US sleeping racial bar seemingly dead when Obama came to power  surfaced   in Ferguson “My Hands are up”Today the racial bar in the US is more alive than ever seen from the war front at Ferguson.

 It reminds   us  Baghdad war zone when American police attacks it own citizen with highly mechanized force.  The racial conflict that founds its root in African triangle slave trade seems slow down after the sacrifice of Martin Luther King Jr. in 60’s. US sleeping racial bar seemingly dead when Obama came to power, but today  surfaced   in Ferguson with a slogan  “My Hands are up”. Today the racial bar in the US is more alive than ever seen from the war front at Ferguson. The problems began on Saturday 9th August when Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. For a week few details about the incident were made public, creating a cauldron of rumors and fury. We now know that Wilson shot Brown six times , including twice in the head. The question of why Brown was shot remains unanswered. Maybe it was in relation to the theft of a box of cigars, or maybe not. The police force has obfuscated in its responses  during press conferences, leaving the people of Ferguson confused.

“Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it’s about class warfare and how America’s poor are held back,” says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?

The lack of clarity over what happened appears to have been a key source of anger but the tensions have been stoked further by the highly militarized police presence. When we think of a militarized police in Europe , guns, batons and body armour come to mind. In America, a militarised police presence means ex-Pentagon military-grade equipment doled out to local police forces.

 

US still giving aid money to Africa’s dictators

By Lorenzo Piccio04 August 2014


Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and U.S. President Barack Obama converse at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. While Addis Ababa remains one of the largest U.S. aid recipients in sub-Saharan Africa, U.S. aid flows to Ethiopia have fallen sharply over the course of the Obama administration. Photo by:  Pete Souza 

Five years ago, during his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as U.S. president, Barack Obama memorably told Ghana’s parliament that “Africa does not need strong men. It needs strong institutions.” And months before his re-election, Obama stressed strengthening democratic institutions as one of four pillars of his administration’s sub-Saharan Africa strategy .

“Our message to those who would derail the democratic process is clear and unequivocal: the United States will not stand idly by when actors threaten legitimately elected governments or manipulate the fairness and integrity of democratic processes,” Obama said in the strategy.

Obama’s strident and lofty rhetoric on democracy in Africa may make for odd bedfellows this week as 50 African heads of state gather in Washington for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

While sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has made marked progress toward democracy and institution building since the 1990s, more than a dozen of the African leaders expected in Washington can aptly be called strongmen — President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda included.

Freedom House classified 20 of 49 sub-Saharan countries as “not free” in its  2014 Freedom in the World index , the think tank’s annual assessment of political rights and civil liberties around the world. Nineteen countries were classified as “partly free,” while only 10 were classified as “free.”

Fiscal 2015 U.S. aid to countries rated “partly free” and “not free” by Freedom House. View larger version .

As the graphic above shows, the United States is a significant donor to 28 of those 39 “partly free” or “not free” countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, of the 10 largest U.S. aid recipients in sub-Saharan Africa, only one is rated “free” by Freedom House: South Africa, which is seeing asharp decline in funding under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Like administrations before it, the Obama White House has come under fire from some quarters for keeping the aid tap on in countries that routinely trample upon human rights and civil liberties. These advocates argue  that the steady flow of U.S. aid money to Africa’s autocrats only prolongs their hold on power.

The prevailing bipartisan view, however, is that it would be foolhardy for the U.S. aid program to tie U.S. foreign aid flows entirely to democracy and human rights considerations. U.S. foreign aid is regarded by many in Washington as a key tool in the U.S. democracy and human rights promotion toolbox — one that can be used to promote and encourage reform not only within the government but also in civil society. Funding civil society groups directly is a strategy routinely employed to avoid giving money to these strongmen.

At the same time, it’s not clear whether the administration or Congress is willing to take the strategic blowback should the United States cut aid to some of its key African partners that happen to have strongmen at the helm.

“The question is how and when to promote democracy when the U.S. has multiple competing national interests. It’s easy to talk about democracy, but what do you do when an ally shows authoritarian tendencies?” said Todd Moss, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who was deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Bush State Department.

Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies echoed this sentiment.

“The conundrum is in those countries that are authoritarian but which the U.S. regards as important security partners,” said Cooke, who cited Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda as examples.

Below, Devex examines U.S. aid engagement with four authoritarian regimes that are also among the largest recipients of U.S. aid in sub-Saharan Africa: Uganda, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In particular, we looked at three key questions that shed light on the administration’s approach to these regimes:

1. To what extent is the Obama administration’s aid engagement tied to progress on democracy and human rights?

2. Is the administration robustly supporting democracy and governance aid programming?

3. Is aid being channeled directly through the government or through nongovernmental channels?

(A previous Devex analysis found that democracy and governance accounted for roughly 5 percent of the Obama administration’s aid spending in sub-saharan Africa.)

Uganda

View larger version. 

East Africa’s longest-serving ruler, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for nearly three decades.

Freedom House rates Uganda as “partly free” in its latest assessment, citing Museveni’s increasingly repressive style of leadership. Critics charge  that since abolishing term limits in 2005, Museveni’s “constitutional dictatorship” has persecuted dissidents and militarized the country’s civil institutions. Uganda’s human rights record has deteriorated even further following its passage of a highly controversial law — annulled Friday — that criminalized homosexuality.

Averaging nearly $470 million over the course of the Obama administration, U.S. aid spending in Uganda had been slated to remain fairly steady in the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget request. Signaling a change in direction, however, the White House  announced  in June plans to discontinue or redirect funds for “certain additional programs” involving Ugandan government institutions such as the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health and National Public Health Institute. It remains to be seen whether the Ugandan constitutional court’s annulment of the anti-homosexuality law will prompt the administration to reevaluate its decision.

Devex analysis reveals, however, that only 1 percent of USAID local spending in Uganda flows through the Ugandan government — reason to believe that the impact of the announcement on the Ugandan government may be minimal.

In contrast to many other major donors to the East African country, the United States has historically refrained from channeling budget support to Kampala, which helps explain whyUSAID did not suspend aid to Uganda in the wake of a high-profile aid embezzlement scandal back in 2012.

The vast majority of U.S. aid spending in Uganda is coursed through PEPFAR. While USAID’scountry strategy for Uganda elevated democracy and governance as one of three key objectives for the agency’s programming in the East African country, the sector will account for only 1 percent of U.S. aid spending in fiscal 2015, which is down from 2 percent in 2010. In the run-up to Uganda’s next national election in 2016, however, the Obama administration has revealed plans to bolster its support for political parties and civil society.

Zimbabwe

View larger version. 

After a period of power sharing with the opposition, Zimbabwe’s longtime president Robert Mugabe is once again firmly in control in Harare; Mugabe won a seventh term in office in last July’s widely disputed election. Freedom House assessed Zimbabwe as “not free,” citing restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, state-sponsored political violence, as well as serious irregularities in the July 2013 election. At the helm of one of Africa’s most repressive regimes, Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.

Early on in his administration, Obama had pledged $73 million in fresh assistance to Zimbabwe — an olive branch to the then months-old power-sharing government. That same year, USAID also reinitiated programming in agriculture and economic growth, which had been on hold for much of the decade. USAID Zimbabwe had redirected the vast majority of its resources toward humanitarian programming in the aftermath of Mugabe’s systematic expropriation of white-owned farms in the early 2000s.

Until recently, the Obama administration had also begun to channel aid to select ministries aligned with the opposition and its leader, then-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai — further evidence of a thaw in aid relations between the United States and Zimbabwe. According to Cooke, U.S. assistance to the public sector in Zimbabwe has been largely limited to health, particularly HIV prevention and treatment, as well as education.

Now that Mugabe has tightened his grip on power once more, the Obama administration, by most accounts, appears to have pulled back on the U.S. aid program’s reengagement with Harare. Very little of the administration’s robust $159 million aid budget for Zimbabwe in fiscal 2015 — which is on a par with recent levels — will likely be channeled through the central government. But the administration has left the door open to continued aid engagement with reform-minded institutions, including the parliament.

Strikingly, the share of U.S. aid to Zimbabwe directed to democracy, human rights and governance is on course to decline even further to just 7 percent in fiscal 2015, compared with 12 percent in fiscal 2010. According to the Obama administration, its programming in the sector will now be focused on safeguarding democratic gains made during the power-sharing period, including the new constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by Zimbabweans in a March 2013 referendum.

Rwanda

View larger version. 

Since assuming the presidency in 2000, Paul Kagame has presided over Rwanda’s rapid development progress — no small feat for a small, landlocked country devastated by genocide only two decades ago. At the same time, the African strongman has come under intense criticism from human rights groups for his authoritarian — some would say, repressive — style of leadership. Freedom House assessed Rwanda as “not free,” citing the country’s flawed electoral process and the Kagame regime’s targeting of human rights organizations.

Despite persistent questions over Kigali’s human rights record, Rwanda has emerged as adarling of Western donors — including its single-largest bilateral donor, the United States — during the past decade. Over the course of the Obama administration, however, U.S. aid flows to Rwanda have declined noticeably — proof perhaps that Kigali’s standing in the U.S. aid portfolio may not be quite where it used to be.

The administration has requested $171 million in foreign aid to Rwanda in fiscal 2015, which is nearly a fifth below fiscal 2010 levels. These cuts appear to have been driven in part by the Obama administration’s reservations over the Kagame regime’s commitment to democracy and human rights. Most notably, in October of last year, the Obama administration announced plans to restrict aid to Uganda’s military over its support for a Congolese rebel group believed to be using child soldiers.

Military aid, however, accounts for only a small portion of U.S. aid to Rwanda, which, much like in Uganda, is mostly in support of PEPFAR programming managed by nongovernmental organizations. Only 3 percent of the administration’s fiscal 2015 aid request for Rwanda has been allocated for democracy, human rights and governance, which is unchanged from fiscal 2010 levels.

Ethiopia

View larger version. 

Since taking office upon the death of the Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi two years ago, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has, by most accounts, governed the one-party state with the same iron fist. Freedom House assessed Ethiopia as “not free,” citing the Desalegn government’s harassment and imprisonment of political opponents. Just last month, Addis Ababa came under fire from human rights groups — and lawmakers in Washington — for its detention of Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige.

While Addis Ababa remains one of the largest U.S. aid recipients in sub-Saharan Africa, U.S. aid flows to Ethiopia have fallen sharply over the course of the Obama administration. The administration has requested $483 million in foreign aid to Ethiopia in fiscal 2015, down by almost half since fiscal 2010. The vast majority of U.S. aid spending in Ethiopia is channeled toward PEPFAR. U.S. aid officials have said that the budget slashes are part of an effort to transfer PEPFAR resources to countries with higher HIV prevalence.

The Obama administration, on the other hand, is poised to ramp up loans, credits and guarantees for the country’s energy sector. The administration has named Ethiopia as one of six focus countries for its $7 billion Power Africa initiative. With the backing of Power Africa, the Ethiopian government and Reykjavik Geothermal, a U.S.-Icelandic private developer, recently signed a landmark deal to construct a 1,000-megawatt geothermal plant in Corbetti Caldera valued at $4 billion.

Despite the USAID country strategy for Ethiopia’s assertion that democracy and governance is the one sector that has “demonstrably deteriorated,” programming in this area will garner less than 1 percent of U.S. aid spending in Ethiopia in fiscal 2015, which is flat from fiscal 2010. At the same time, there has been little to no indication from the administration that the PEPFAR budget slashes are tied to U.S. concerns over Ethiopia’s democracy and human rights record.

Strikingly, USAID channels roughly a third of its local spending through governmental channels — a share that’s higher than all but five of the agency’s bilateral missions in sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia’s harsh NGO laws, which is one of the most restrictive in the world, likely helps explain USAID’s reluctance to channel more funding through nongovernmental organizations.

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Ethiopia Became China’s New Tibet

 

 

China of Mao conquered militarily  Tibet  in 1959, today Ethiopia became the new colony without firing a a shot. With the Chinese speaking symbolic president of Ethiopia  at the top. Ethiopians are slaved  regimented almost for free paid under dollar  a day. Please read the following article entitled “Turning Ethiopia Into China’s China.”


Turning Ethiopia Into China's China

Illustration by 731
Ethiopian workers walking through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa in June chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked. The company’s president, just arrived from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up, and ran outside. Zhang Huarong, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier, harangued them in Chinese, tugging at one man’s polo shirt and forcing another worker’s into his pants. Amazed, the workers stood silent until the eruption subsided.
Zhang’s factory is part of the next wave of China’s investment in Africa. It started with infrastructure, especially the kind that helped the Chinese extract African oil, copper, and other raw materials to fuel China’s industrial complex. Now China is getting too expensive to do the low-tech work it’s known for. African nations such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania want their share of the 80 million manufacturing jobs that China is expected to export, according to Justin Lin Yifu, a former World Bank chief economist who teaches economics at Peking University. Weaker consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe has prompted global retailers to speed up their search for lower-cost producers.
Shaping up employees is one part of Zhang’s quest to squeeze more profit out of Huajian’s factory, where wages of about $40 a month are less than 10 percent of what comparable Chinese workers may make. Just as companies discovered with China when they began manufacturing there in the 1980s, Ethiopia’s workforce is untrained, its power supply is intermittent, and its roads are so bad that trips can take six times as long as they should. “Ethiopia is exactly like China 30 years ago,” says Zhang, 55, who quit the military in 1982 to make shoes from his home in Jiangxi province with three sewing machines. He now supplies such well-known brands as Nine West and Guess (GES).
Almost three years after Zhang began his Ethiopian adventure at the invitation of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he says he’s unhappy with profits at the plant, frustrated by “widespread inefficiency” in the local bureaucracy, and struggling to raise productivity from a level that he says is about a third of China’s. Transportation and logistics that cost as much as four times what they do in China are prompting Huajian to set up its own trucking company, according to Zhang. That will free Huajian from using the inefficient local haulers, but it can’t fix the roads. It takes two hours to drive 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the Huajian factory from the capital along the main artery. Oil tankers and trucks stream along the bumpy, potholed, and at times unpaved road. Goats, donkeys, and cows wander along, occasionally straying into bumper-to-bumper traffic. Minibuses and dented taxis, mostly blue Ladas from Ethiopia’s past as a Soviet ally, weave through oncoming traffic, coughing exhaust.
Photograph by William Davidson/Bloomberg
In a country where 80 percent of the labor force is in agriculture, manufacturers don’t have to worry about finding new workers. The population of about 96 million is Africa’s second-largest after Nigeria’s. Cheap labor and electricity and a government striving to draw foreign investment make Ethiopia more attractive than many other African nations, says Deborah Brautigam, author of The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa and a professor of international development and comparative politics at Johns Hopkins University. “They are trying to establish conditions for a transformation,” Brautigam says. “It could become the China of Africa.” Foreign direct investment in Ethiopia jumped 3.4 times to $953 million last year from the year before, according to estimates by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Huajian’s 3,500 Ethiopian workers produced 2 million pairs of shoes last year. Located in one of the country’s first industrial zones—which offer better infrastructure and tax exemptions—the factory began operating in January 2012. It became profitable its first year and now makes $100,000 to $200,000 a month, Zhang says—an insufficient return that he claims will rise as workers become better trained. Beneath bright fluorescent lights and amid the drone of machines, workers cut, glue, stitch, and sew Marc Fisher leather boots destined for the U.S. market. Supervisors monitor quotas on whiteboards, giving small cash rewards to winning teams and criticizing those who fall short.Zhang spends about half his time in Ethiopia, he says. During his June visit to the Huajian plant he spoke to about 200 uniformed supervisors, a mixture of Ethiopians and Chinese, assembled in the parking lot. He berated supervisors for their inefficiency, then praised them for their loyalty, his words translated into Amharic, Ethiopia’s national language, and Oromo, the local language. He ordered staff to march on the spot as they all chanted together in Chinese. Then they recited slogans: “Unite as one.” “Improvement together.” “Civilized and efficient.” They sang the Song of Huajian, which urged “we Huajian people” to move forward, hold the banner of Huajian high, and “keep our business forever.” Chinese supervisors led the song, while their Ethiopian colleagues stumbled over some words.
Later, Zhang explained why he can’t be as tough as he’d like. “Here the management cannot be too strong as there will be a problem with the culture,” he said through a translator. “On one hand we have to have strict requirements, on the other hand we have to take care of them. They may be poor, but we have to respect their dignity.”
Five workers interviewed at the factory describe strict standards, with rewards for good work and pay docked for ruined shoes. Taddelech Teshome, 24, says her day starts at 7:20 a.m. after her Chinese employers provide workers with a breakfast of bread and tea. When her morning shift ferrying shoes from the factory floor to the warehouse is over, she gets fed the national staple sour bread for lunch, then resumes work until 5:15. After that a Huajian bus takes her to nearby Debre Zeit, where she rents a room with her sister for $18 a month. Taddelech came to work at Huajian just over a year ago from her home 165 kilometers away in the Arsi region after her sister started work at the factory. “The work is good because I pay my rent and I can look after myself,” she says. “It’s transformed my life.”
Huajian’s Zhang wants to increase its workforce in Ethiopia to as many as 50,000 within eight years. A model of a planned new plant at the edge of Addis Ababa is displayed at the factory. It shows a 341-acre complex, partly financed by more than $300 million from Huajian, that will include apartments for workers, a wooded area, and a technical university.
In the parking lot, after supervisors had sung the company song, Zhang dismissed the Ethiopians but continued to rail against the Chinese managers. To make his points he thrust a broomstick toward them repeatedly. He finally left the stage, laughing and raising his fist in triumph.

2014 Golden Pen of Freedom awarded to Jailed Ethiopian Eskinder Nega

The honour was formally bestowed on Nega in a ceremony at the 66th World Newspaper Congress, under way in the Italian city of Torino this week, where more than 1,000 media industry representatives have gathered.

Nega is serving an 18-year jail sentence in Addis Ababa’s notorious Kaliti prison, convicted on trumped-up terrorism charges after daring to wonder in print whether the Arab Spring could reach Ethiopia, and for criticising the very anti-terrorism legislation under which he was charged. Arrested in 2011, he was sentenced on 23 January 2012, and denounced as belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Imprisoned at least seven times in the past decade for committing fearless acts of journalism, Nega is a celebrated intellectual and a relentless fighter for freedom of expression. “Eskinder Nega has become an emblem of Ethiopia’s recent struggle for democracy,” World Editors Forum President Erik Bjerager said, delivering the Golden Penduring the opening ceremony of the World Newspaper Congress and the World Editors Forum in Torino. “No stranger to prison, he is also an unforgettable warning to every working Ethiopian journalist and editor that the quest to create a just, free society comes with a heavy price,” Bjerager said.

Nega’s former prisonmate, Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye, accepted the award on the jailed journalist’s behalf, at the invitation of Nega’s family. He painted a dark picture of life inside Kaliti Prison. “The rooms are more like barns with concrete floors, and it is so crowded that you have to sleep on your side,” he said. “Prisoners are packed likes slaves on a slaveship. Once a month an inmate leaves with his feet first.”

But disease and torture are not the hardest part of life inside Kaliti, according to Schibbye. “It (is) the fear of speaking. It’s not the guard towers with machine guns that keep the prison population calm. It is the geography of fear. People who speak politics are taken away. They disappear.” Schibbye is a freelance journalist who was jailed for 14 months in Kaliti Prison, along with his photographer Johan Persson. They were pardoned and released in September 2012.

“In (Kaliti), fearless people like Eskinder Nega helped the whole prison population to keep their dignity. By still writing. Protesting. Not giving up. He helped us all maintain our humanity. But there is one thing I know that even Eskinder fears. That is to be forgotten,” Schibbye says.

“When you’re locked up as a prisoner of conscience, this is the greatest fear, and the support from the outside is what keeps you going. This Golden Pen Award will not set him free tomorrow, but it will ease his day today. He will go with his head high knowing that he is there for a good cause. That the pain and suffering has a meaning.”

WEF President Erik Bjerager told the ceremony that the world needs to watch the creeping threat of anti-terrorism legislation being used to target journalists. “Ethiopia continues to resort to anti-terrorism legislation to silence opposition and shackle the press. Alarmingly, beyond Ethiopia, countless states around the world are misusing anti-terrorism legislation to muzzle journalists, bloggers and freedom of expression advocates,” Bjerager said. “Research suggests that over half of the more than 200 journalists in jail last year were being held on ‘anti-state’ charges. Let me be clear: Journalism is not terrorism. Politicians should not abuse the notion of national security to protect the government, powerful interests or particular ideologies, or to prevent the exposure of wrongdoing or incompetence.”

Schibbye concluded his acceptance speech, reading from a moving letter penned by Nega to his eight-year-old son. It was smuggled out of Kaliti prison: “The pain is almost physical. But in this plight of our family is embedded hope of a long suffering people. There is no greater honour. We must bear any pain, travel any distance, climb any mountain, cross any ocean to complete this journey to freedom. Anything less is impoverishment of our soul. God bless you, my son. You will always be in my prayers.”

Schibbye told a tearful audience: “When I read these words by Eskinder I know that they will never break him. Because he is in peace with himself. He knows that even though he is chained, robbed of his physical freedom, the freedom to talk or to be silent, the freedom to drink or eat, and even to shit. He knows, as do all prisoners of conscience, that you have it in you to keep the most valuable, the freedom that nobody can take from you, the freedom to determine who you want to be. Eskinder is a journalist. And every day he wakes up in the Kaliti prison is just another day at the office.”

Nine more journalists were jailed in the past month in Ethiopia, as the election campaign started ahead of next year’s poll. “The crackdown was a flashing alarm to the world that no one is safe. That there is a hunting season for journalists in Addis Abeba. But despite this difficult situation, there is light,” Schibbye said.

“Eskinder Nega’s courage has turned out to be contagious; a new generation is stepping up. A generation of young cheetahs have been taking enormous risks writing, tweeting and speaking truth to power, demanding the jailed to be released. It is hopeful. It shows that they can jail journalists but they can never succeed in jailing journalism. Words led Eskinder Nega to the Kaliti prison. And in the end it must also be words that set him free,” Schibbye told a clearly emotional audience.

“When I see this Golden Pen of his, I look back, and think of Eskinder who is left behind in the chaos, on the concrete floor, between walls of corrugated steel I feel sick to the stomach. But then I remember his smile and his strength and I think that at the end of the day, it’s not us that are fighting for his freedom – but rather he who is fighting for ours. Ayzoh Eskinder! Ayzoh! (translation: be strong, chin up).”

Note: The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by WAN-IFRA to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom. Established in 1961, the Golden Pen of Freedom is presented annually and is amongst the most prestigious awards of its kind throughout the world. Behind the names of the laureates lie stories of extraordinary personal courage and self-sacrifice, stories of jail, beatings, bombings, censorship, exile and murder. One of the objectives of the Golden Pen is to turn the spotlight of public attention on repressive governments and journalists who fight them. Often, the laureate is still engaged in the struggle for freedom of expression and the Pen has, on several occasions, secured the release of a publisher or journalist from jail or afforded him or her a degree of protection against further persecution.

 

25th anniversary of Students Massacre by Chinese Dictators at Tiananmen Square

Tianimen Massacre

The  Fourth of June when the army that was founded for the people turned on the unarmed citizens of Peking to destroy a peaceful student-led democracy movement. We remember also in Tibet in 1950’s the unarmed monks were shot  in cold blood  in  Lhasa, and since the country occupied and depopulated  to this day.

The massacre in the  Tiananmen Square started soon after midnight. It was a different army from the unarmed one which had tried to enter the square on Friday night and failed. This one was told to kill, and the soldiers with their AK- 47 automatic rifles and the armored personnel carriers with their machine guns opened fire indiscriminately, in the air, directly at the huge crowds, at small groups, everywhere as we can see in these attached videos.

Lined up in rows across the Avenue of Eternal Peace, they advanced slowly, shooting all the while, then they would halt and kneel and fire directly into the crowd as you can see in the above videos.  They did the same at the southern end of the square by Zhengyang Gate. When both ends of the square were cleared, they switched off the lights and encircled the thousands of students who had crowded together on the Revolutionary Heroes’ monument. Dawn broke and riot police moved in with truncheons. Everyone expected the army. But no one expected such ferocity, such armor, such numbers. There were more than 100,000 soldiers. ( watch Video)

 

 

Backlash: the army responded with violence to peaceful protests (Corbis)

Backlash: the army responded with violence to peaceful protests (Corbis)
Many foreign reporters started  crying “If this is the People’s Army, God spare China.” They behaved like the Red Guards, with a systematic and frenzied brutality. They were the very institution that was once called out to protect China from the Red Guard excesses. Now they are killing civilians.

June 4th , 1989  all the while the lorries kept rumbling forward, stopping from time to time until the citizens of Peking were pushed back from the northern end of the square by the entrance to the Forbidden City.

 

A celebrated image of a man trying to stop the tanks entering the square (AP)

A celebrated image of a man trying to stop the tanks entering the square know today as Tank  Man
At one stage some students came from side streets, shouting “go home, go home” to stalled lorries outside the leadership compound. They were scattered by militia men with clubs like axe-handles, which cracked a few skulls. It was probably the one occasion during the night when they did not use guns.

Along the tree-lined streets beside the Forbidden City, groups of people were talking softly, scared but curious.. About half an hour later some of the armour returned again from the square, and in a continuing moving circle, they opened fire all around. It was a battlefield. It was a lesson in brute powerThe world  was weeping for the people of Peking. One  cannot see how they are ever likely to trust their leaders again.

Testimonies by the Journalists present on the Square on the day of the Massacre

The rape of Peking

By Michael Fathers and Andrew Higgins

It was the worst single act of violence against the Chinese people since the Communist Party took power in Peking 40 years ago. Hundreds were dead, many more were wounded and still the People’s Liberation Army continued throughout yesterday and into the early hours of this morning to fire on the capital’s citizens.

Tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) which had blasted their way into Tiananmen Square spread out across the centre of the city, opening fire from time to time with machine guns at groups of people who were on the streets. From 3am onwards, nearly 90 fresh tanks roared in from the city’s eastern suburbs along the main boulevard past Tiananmen Square to reinforce those already in Peking.

The capital had become a city under siege. Fires could be seen burning in the south of Peking early this morning. The chatter of gunfire and the thunder of an electric storm shook the night. The people of Peking, outraged by the bloodletting, continued to challenge the military despite the massive forces arrayed against them. Students, whose seven-week campaign for political change triggered the onslaught, yesterday displayed the grisly evidence of the killing. They paraded corpses of fallen comrades at their universities.

Crushing blow: soldiers in armoured vehicles fired on the public in Tiananmen Square (Corbis)

Crushing blow: soldiers in armored vehicles fired on the public in Tienanmen Square (Corbis)

Hong Kong and the Reaction of Madame Thatcher 

 

In Hong Kong more than 200,000 nervous residents appeared at a rally to mourn the dead in Peking and called for a general strike on Wednesday. “What happened in Peking has broken confidence in Hong Kong’s future,” said Elsie Elliott Tu, a member of the Legislative Council. Margaret Thatcher, in a statement from Downing Street, said she had been “appalled by the indiscriminate shooting of unarmed people”. Although she could “understand the deep anxiety” felt in Hong Kong, which reverts to China in 1997, Britain would “continue to stand by its commitment to a secure future” for the colony and was “confident” China would do the same.

Students in Shanghai erected barricades and bus drivers went on strike. Roads leading to Fudan University and Tongji University and those to the waterfront by the Peace Hotel were blocked. The streets of central Peking were covered with bloodstains, rubble and the wreckage of Saturday night’s pitched battle. At the far western end of the Avenue of Eternal Peace, a long line of APCs were gutted and smoking. Several miles in the other direction, the burned body of a soldier was strung up and dangled from an overpass. Headless corpses, crushed by tanks and APCs, were lying on other roads.

State radio, quoting the army newspaper, Liberation Army Daily, said the armed forces had achieved a great victory and crushed counter-revolutionary violence. The official media gave detailed accounts of military casualties, saying 1,000 soldiers had been hurt. It acknowledged only that there had been some civilian casualties. Reports in Peking said the civilian death toll could be as many as 1,400. Across the city, hospitals were overflowing with bodies lying in blood-smeared corridors. Doctors said they were unable to cope with the carnage and many injured were likely to die for lack of attention. In one hospital, a power cut forced surgeons to operate by torchlight to remove bullets.

The state radio unconsciously mimicked the infamous American adage in Vietnam that to save the village you had to destroy it. In explaining the military assault on Peking, the radio said: “It was necessary to undertake that action to save lives and property.”

The troops control Tiananmen Square, the site of the student protest and now the focus of a massive military build-up. More than 100 tanks, dozens of APCs and tens of thousands of troops occupied the square and its surroundings. Throughout the day a helicopter acted as a spotter for the army, taking off and landing in the square repeatedly, and apparently tipping off troops at any sign of a large gathering of civilians.

The square was the army’s, but the battle for the streets had yet to be won. The fight for the hearts and minds of Peking’s citizens seems already lost. Students and an independent and illegal workers’ union have called for a general strike today to express public outrage. However, work already seems to have stopped. Public transport is not operating, many people, frightened and appalled by the violence, have kept away from work.

Activists duck for cover during the Chinese crackdown (Corbis)Activists duck for cover during the Chinese crackdown (Corbis)
New violence seems likely after the capture of an APC by the students and reports that they are building an arsenal of their own from captured weapons. Several university campuses have been surrounded by troops and armoured vehicles. Student leaders urged their colleages to stay indoors, but they seemed to be losing control as anger over the military onslaught on their peaceful movement replaced the carnival mood of previous weeks.

Ordinary citizens taunted the troops with chants of “fascists”, “murderers go home”. Slogans attacking Li Peng, the Prime Minister, had been daubed in blood on buses and walls. “Li Peng, you will never be at peace,” read one message in fresh blood on the side of a booth. Others condemned 84-year-old Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader. According to one report Mr Deng, although in serious condition in hospital, had given the order for the troop advance into the capital, saying that the youth movement had to be suppressed “even if they are protesting out of ignorance”. Acknowledging that many ordinary people had joined the student cause, he is alleged to have said: “In China even one million people is still only a small number.”

The savagery of the army’s action came against a background of political turmoil brought about by the impending succession. How ill Mr Deng is remains unclear, but factions within the party and the military have already begun to stake their claim to lead China when Mr Deng does finally leave the scene. How to handle the students’ Democracy Movement became the focus of the battle for future supremacy. Mr Deng’s once-ordained successor, Zhao Ziyang, the party General Secretary, called for moderation towards the students and has been stripped of his authority, though not yet his title.

Opposing him and, for the moment victorious, is Li Peng. The final outcome is far from certain and he is now not only reviled by Chinese people as a butcher, but totally dependent on the fickle loyalties of the military.

Edward Snowden a fugitive in Russia he let US to decide his “amnesty or clemency”


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Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden a fugitive and challenged him to “man up and come back to the United States.” Snowden says in an interview that he would like to go home.

The former NSA contract systems analyst is living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum after leaking a massive volume of NSA documents to the media. He told anchorman Brian Williams of NBC News that he had taken action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA.

“I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said in a segment of the interview broadcast Wednesday night. “Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.”

Kerry’s comments came before NBC aired that portion of the Snowden interview. On the matter of Snowden returning, Kerry told NBC’s “Today” show: “If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we’ll have him on a flight today.” Kerry also said, “A patriot would not run away.”

Snowden told Williams that he worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and the NSA. He said he had a much larger role in U.S. intelligence than the government has acknowledged.

“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas,” he said.

National security adviser Susan Rice said in a CNN interview that Snowden never worked undercover.

As far as the necessity for the leaks, “let him come back and make his case,” Kerry said. “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.”

Snowden said he never intended to be holed up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.” In response, Kerry said: “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, after all.”

“I think he’s confused,” Kerry said. “I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”

2014 Freedom House report confirm Ethiopia is not Free

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In response to the Ethiopian government’s arrest of six members of an independent blogging group and three journalists on April 25-26, Freedom House released the following statement:

“Ethiopia’s arrests of journalists are a chilling example of the government’s efforts to silence alternative voices and dissent,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs at Freedom House. “These independent voices have worked responsibly to give important social and political issues serious consideration.”

“Freedom House urges Secretary of State John Kerry to use his forthcoming trip to Ethiopia to ask the government to dismiss these charges if evidence is insufficient,” Petrovic said, “and to provide the accused with immediate access to legal representation and family members.”

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom of the Press 2013 and Freedom on the Net 2013.

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To learn more about Ethiopia, visit:
Ethiopia Debates Making Homosexuality “Non-Pardonable” Offense
Statement: Ethiopia’s EITI Process Needs Larger Role for Civil Society
Freedom in the World 2013: Ethiopia
Freedom of the Press 2013: Ethiopia
Freedom on the Net 2013: Ethiopia
Blog: Democracy, Double-Crossed: How Private Actors in the West Serve Foreign Dictators

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhousedc) and stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our RSS feedsnewsletter and our blog.

REPORTS:
COUNTRIES:

Global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, according to a Freedom House report released today. The decline was driven in part by major regression in several Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Libya, and Jordan; marked setbacks in Turkey, Ukraine, and a number of countries in East Africa; and deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States.

Freedom of the Press 2014 found that despite positive developments in a number of countries, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa, setbacks were the dominant trend in every other region. The share of the world’s population with media rated “Free” remains at just 14 percent, or only one in seven people. Far larger shares live in “Not Free” (44 percent) or “Partly Free” (42 percent) media environments.

“We see declines in media freedom on a global level, driven by governments’ efforts to control the message and punish the messenger,” said Karin Karlekar, project director of the report. “In every region of the world last year, we found both governments and private actors attacking reporters, blocking their physical access to newsworthy events, censoring content, and ordering politically motivated firings of journalists.”

“In 2013 we saw more cases of states targeting foreign reporters and media outlets,” Karlekar added. “Russian and Chinese authorities declined to renew or threatened to withhold visas for prominent foreign correspondents, but the new Egyptian government went a step further by detaining a number of Al-Jazeera staff on charges of supporting terrorism.”

Key Global Findings:

  • Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2013, a total of 63 (32 percent) were rated Free, 68 (35 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 66 (33 percent) were rated Not Free.
  • All regions except sub-Saharan Africa, whose average score leveled off, showed declines, with the Middle East and North Africa suffering the worst deterioration.
  • Triggers for country declines included governments’ overt attempts to control the news—whether through the physical harassment of journalists covering protest movements or other sensitive stories, restrictions on foreign reporters, or tightened constraints on online news outlets and social media—as well as the role of owners in shaping media content through directives on coverage or dismissals of outspoken journalists.
  • Country improvements were largely driven by three factors: a growing ability of private firms to operate television and radio outlets; greater access to a variety of views via online media, social media, and international outlets; and improved respect for legal protections for the press.
  • China and Russia maintained a tight grip on local media while also attempting to control the more independent views provided either in the blogosphere or by foreign news sources.
  • The world’s eight worst-rated countries remain Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Key Regional Findings:

Americas:

  • The regional average score worsened to its lowest level in five years, and just 2 percent of the population in Latin America lived in Free media environments.
  • Scores dropped in Honduras, Panama, Suriname, and Venezuela.
  • Paraguay’s rating improved to Partly Free.
  • Conditions in the United States deteriorated due primarily to attempts by the government to inhibit reporting on national security issues.

Asia-Pacific:

  • Only 5 percent of the region’s population had access to Free media in 2013.
  • China, rated Not Free, continued to crack down on online speech, particularly on microblogs, and also ramped up pressure on foreign journalists.
  • Press freedom deteriorated in Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and several Pacific Island states, including Nauru, which was downgraded to Partly Free.
  • Burma and Nepal registered score improvements.

Eurasia:

  • The overwhelming majority of people in the region (97 percent) lived in Not Free media environments.
  • Conditions in Russia remained grim, as the RIA Novosti news agency was closed and the government enacted additional legal restrictions on online speech.
  • Ukraine was downgraded to Not Free for 2013 due primarily to attacks on journalists covering the Euromaidan protests, and further erosion took place in Azerbaijan.
  • Positive developments occurred in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia.

Europe:

  • This region enjoys the highest level of press freedom, but the regional average score registered the second-largest drop worldwide in 2013.
  • The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden were rated the world’s top-performing countries.
  • Significant decline took place in Turkey, which fell into the Not Free category, as well as in Greece, Montenegro, and the United Kingdom.
  • A modest numerical improvement was noted in Italy, which remains Partly Free.

Middle East and North Africa:

  • Only 2 percent of the region’s people lived in Free media environments, while the vast majority, 84 percent, lived in Not Free countries or territories.
  • Backsliding occurred in Libya, which fell back into the Not Free category, and Egypt, where the military-led government limited press freedom.
  • Significant deterioration took place in Jordan and to a lesser extent in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Press freedom declined further in Syria, in the midst of an especially brutal civil war that posed enormous dangers to journalists.
  • Improvements took place in Algeria (upgraded to Partly Free), Yemen, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Israel (upgraded back to Free).

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • The majority of people (56 percent) lived in countries with Partly Free media. Improvements in the legal and economic spheres in 2013 were balanced by declines in the political category.
  • Declines occurred in South Sudan and Zambia (both downgraded to Not Free), the Central African Republic, and several countries in East Africa, including Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • West Africa saw a number of improvements, including the upgrade of Côte d’Ivoire to Partly Free and numerical gains in Mali, Senegal, and Togo.
  • Other gains were recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and Zimbabwe.

To view the report, click here.