Where are Zone 9 journalists – Wektawi Gudayoch (Ethiopian Current Affairs) – 18 June 2019

Melat Mulugeta

Wektawi Gudayoch on Mereja TV is a daily program on Mereja TV where journalist and invited guests to discuss events and affairs happening in Ethiopia recently. In today’s segment, in-house journalists Abebe Zenebe, Addisalem Abebe, and Esubalew Sajen along with Befekadu Hailu, former Zone 9 blogger and currently Managing Editor at Addis Maleda newspaper, discuss Ethiopian press freedom and the reform, the dangers historical sites in Addis Ababa are facing, and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission report and Amnesty International suggestions for the commission’s reform.

In relation to the press freedom discussion, Befekadu recounts events and painful experiences he encountered as a Zine 9 blogger. The Zone 9 bloggers are a blogging collective from Ethiopia, who maintains a blog in Amharic. Zone 9 got its name from an Ethiopian state prison in Addis Ababa called commonly known as Kaliti maximum security prison, which has eight zones. The bloggers, who felt that Ethiopia was becoming a bigger prison (Zone 9), named themselves Zone9ers. In November 2015 the Zone 9 bloggers were awarded the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Similarly, On November 2015 the collective was awarded Reporters Without Borders’ Citizen Journalism Award. Furthermore, on October 2016 the group was nominated as one of the finalists of the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.