Members of Free Media for Ethiopia are currently holding a 72-hour hunger strike which began last Friday at noon in LaFayette Square opposite the White House to draw attention to the ongoing injustices against journalists in Ethiopia and the suppression of any free form of speech by the Ethiopian citizenship at large. The group, based in the United States, is non-political in its mission and is made up of members of the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Its aim is to bring about a change in government actions that continue to control the flow of information within and from Ethiopia and to make it possible for Ethiopians to form alternative media outlets without fear of persecution.
The current Prime Minister of Ethiopia is Meles Zenawi. He has been in power for the past 21 years. His injustices toward Ethiopians have earned him the label of a dictator. One injustice cited by Free Media for Ethiopia is the taking away of properties from farmers and the selling of those properties to foreign governments for large sums of money which doesn’t make its way back to the citizenship of the country. Another, of course, is the control of the flow of information.
“The only media that’s allowed in the country is government owned,” stated Leyou Gennene, a nearby Maryland resident who is one of the participants and organizers of the hunger strike. “And, we want to change that. The Ethiopian community living here (in the United States), they watch ETV (government run television), but other media outlets are jammed.”
“This current government in Ethiopia is trying to disconnect Ethiopia from the rest of the world,” continued Gennene. “It claims to be a Democratic nation, but our people back home are not living in a democratic way.”
“The government is just suppressing anybody and everybody that’s against them,” state another hunger striker who is a member of the Ethiopian Muslim community and chose not to give her name out of fear for her family back home. “That’s because they speak the truth.”
The hunger strike continues through the rest of the weekend and ends at noon on Monday. Both members and non-members of the Ethiopian community are encouraged to participate and show their support.
Further information about this hunger strike and other activities by Free Media for Ethiopia can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Free.Media.for.Ethiopia
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