By Les Neuhaus  (International Journalists’ Network)

election 2007Covering Ethiopia isn’t easy for any journalist working in the Horn of Africa country. For years it has been ranked as one of the worst offenders for press freedom in the world and in April the Committee to Protect Journalists placed it fourth on their annual list of the 10-most censored countries, right after Eritrea, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Upcoming Ethiopian polls carry lessons from past for journalists now

By Simegnish (Lily) Mengesha | Center for International Media Assistance)

Obama with Simegnish Lily Mengesha 628x405U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Vietnamese blogger “Dieu Clay” (left), and Simegnesh “Lily” Mengesha (right), on May 1, 2015. For any ordinary person, engaging in discussion with the world’s most powerful leader feels close to impossible. But I experienced the impossible when I met President Barack Obama on World Press Freedom Day to speak about media restrictions in Ethiopia.

Read more: Ethiopia: Enough with Whispering about Media Freedom!

EPRDF1EPRDF“If the dignity of the individual is upheld across Africa… Americans will be freer as well… I believe that none of us are fully free when others in the human family remain shackled by poverty or disease or oppression.” President Obama, June 30, 2013 This is true in my country of origin, Ethiopia where a single party has ruled for 25 years and intends to rule perpetually. This “Orwellian” state receives over $4 billion annually, the largest in Africa and the U.S. is the largest bilateral donor.

Imagine one party winning elections every 4 years in the U.S. by barring or intimidating contestants. Imagine candidates being clubbed, jailed and or forced to flee if they protest peacefully. Imagine an election without meaningful policy debates.

Read more: Op-ed – Ethiopia where a single party has ruled for 25 years

Blanket US support for the Ethiopian regime risks dismantling the country’s already beleaguered opposition

By Awol Allo | Al Jazeera

Wendy Sherman61 300x187It was only two months ago during the Israeli election that the White House was scrambling to convince the American public that the United States does not intervene in the electoral processes of other democracies.Wendy Sherman in Ethiopia

“This administration goes to great lengths to ensure that we don’t give even the appearance of interfering or attempting to influence the outcome of a democratically held election in another country,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in defense of President Barack Obama’s refusal to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Read more: Washington enables authoritarianism in Ethiopia

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