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Ethiopia unblocks censored TV and websites

A senior Ethiopian official says the country has opened access to 264 blocked websites and TV broadcasters.

Fitsum Arega, who is the prime minister’s chief of staff, said in his tweet that “freedom of expression is a foundational right” and “essential for engaged and responsible” citizens. He added that “only a free market of ideas will lead to the truth”.

Among the broadcasters allowed back on air are the US-based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network (OMN).

Both TV stations were charged in absentia for inciting violence and promoting terror, but the charges were dropped a few weeks ago.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April with a pledge to open up the airwaves, even calling on foreign-based opposition TV broadcasters to open offices in Ethiopia.

One broadcaster – the US-based OMN station – has sent a team to establish a office in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

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