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Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Eritrea

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1998
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Eritrea, February 1998, available at: [accessed 20 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

This year marked the ratification of a new constitution for Africa's youngest nation and the drafting of electoral laws in preparation for parliamentary elections. Eritrea, which came into being in 1991 after the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) defeated the Ethiopian army, became a formal state in 1993 following a U.N. supervised referendum in which citizens voted for independence from Ethiopia. The new constitution contains provisions for press freedom, but many of the country's institutions are still evolving after its 30-year war with Ethiopia, and the current centralized provisional government of President Issaias Afewerki will be replaced after the parliamentary elections.

Although magazines and newspapers are beginning to appear, and are sold and read freely, the media are controlled by the government, and there is one television and one radio station. Private ownership of newspapers, but not broadcast media, is allowed but newspapers must first obtain a license from the Ministry of Information before publication, and all reporters must be registered. 1997 produced the first controversial press incident in Eritrea, that of the arrest without charges of Ruth Simon, an Agence France-Presse correspondent.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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