The Ethiopian government has at their disposal a formidable collection of surveillance technologies, and can intrusively monitor writers and activists at home and abroad. In late April the government arrested six independent bloggers and a journalist. More than 50 days later they are still being held in custody, and yet no formal charges have been filed. In March Human Rights Watch published a lengthy and detailed report warning that surveillance in Ethiopia could get even worse if the government gains the human capacity necessary to fully leverage the available technologies.
Who is afraid of Eskinder Nega, Reeyout Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Zone Nine bloggers…?
The “dean” of independent Ethiopian journalists and blogger extraordinaire, Eskinder Nega, is serving an 18 year sentence for blogging. The late Meles Zenawi personally ordered Eskinder’s arrest and even determined his sentence. Meles Zenawi feared and hated Eskinder Nega more than any other journalist in Ethiopia. Meles feared Eskinder for the same illogical reason elephants “fear” mice.