Selam Freedom of Expression Initiatives

Selam Ethiopia, /, +251911395963
This measure was reported by civil society.
Describe the main features of the measure/initiative: 
Due to the on-going political reform unfolding in the country, in particular, the political reform process created a positive working environment for the culture sector as the result of the legislative amendment that relaxed civil societies and non-governmental organizations operating in policy advocacy activities. In light of this development, five cultural Forums, focusing on Culture Politics and Identity Dynamics, Politics of Homogenization in Ethiopia, Press Freedom and Censorship, and Challenges and Prospects of Circus in Ethiopia were conducted. The prominent Selam culture forum held in Addis Ababa was on “Politics of Homogenization in Ethiopia: constitutive Projects and new Journalism”. The forum was started with an idea setting presentation on “Politics of Homogenization in Ethiopia and constitutive projects and new journalism”. The presentation was aimed to assess the role of media in an early democratic state such as Ethiopia by emphasizing the fundamental functions of media in building communities through creating common values. It also pointed out the importance of media in informing and empowering citizens to play active roles in nation-building through political engagements. World press freedom Day is an important day that is observed on various occasions worldwide. Free press and independent media had been targets of political scrutiny and oppression in Ethiopia. The current government, however, has recognized the importance of free press and media for building democratic societies, and it is taking efforts in reforming media laws to encourage freedom of expression and free media. Media is one of the core project activity areas for Selam. To mark world free media day and promote artistic freedom of expression, Selam organized a culture forum and poetic Jazz show on May 3rd, 2019, at Addis Ababa City Hall. This culture forum was organized under the title ‘Censorship, Cultural Struggles, and Freedom’ and it featured a panel discussion among key stakeholders within the media. The panelists included prominent media personalities, journalists, and academics such as Abebawe Melaku, Temesgen Desalegne, and Dr. Tewabech Bishaw, as well as Semeneh Ayalew. The panel discussion started with each panelist’s sharing their perspectives on the freedom and struggles of media and freedom of expression among media actors. For instance, Temesgen Desalegne shared his experiences on numerous oppressive censorships and official intimidations he encountered while working as a journalist and writer.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?: 
- Stakeholders are advocated on key transformational issues for the culture sector. - Calls for an integrated and responsible action for cultural actors and decision-makers were made.
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Cinema/ Audiovisual Arts