“They used to text [that] they know what I am doing and it would only be a matter of time for me to face the consequences.”
Fasil Girma Aragaw got to know Ethiopia’s one-party state from the inside. As a reporter for state radio and television from 2006 to 2010, his job was to protect the image of the government.
“The media house was full of gatekeepers with no quality professional or educational background,” he says. “They were just there to defend the government from any critics. There was a high-degree of self-censorship.”
Fasil, however, was outspoken and was often reprimanded for his efforts to push the boundaries of what government media could report. The difficulties with his superiors came to a head in 2010 when he was assigned to cover the Ethiopian government’s master plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa into land claimed by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. When Fasil tried to report on criticism of the initiative, he was threatened with punishment and eventually left his job.
From there Fasil began working for Transparency Ethiopia, a contact office for the international anti-corruption group Transparency International. He tried to cover government corruption and promote investigative journalism in the Ethiopian media – but soon was being followed and threatened by government security personnel. Such threats can’t be
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