Press freedom in Ethiopia is being called into question as one Bilal Worku, a senior journalist with Ethiopia’s state broadcaster EBC until earlier this week, seeks asylum in the UK citing threats from high-ranking government officials.
Worku was positioned on the team that accompanied deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen to the UK-Africa summit which took place in London. He announced his departure while he was supposed to be on official duty, quoting oppressive working conditions as his reason for leaving. He failed to return home as scheduled and sought asylum instead.
Under Ethiopian Prime Minister and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Abiy Ahmed, there has been positive reviews concerning press freedom in Ethiopia. Worku, however, has served at the EBC for 9 years and says that the reality shows the opposite. He told BBC Amharic, "There is no way I can go back and live freely in Ethiopia. There is no press freedom or editorial independence for that matter. Whenever I try to tell the truth through my work I get threats. I can’t say much as I fear for my family’s safety."
Worku is the latest departure in an exodus from EBC.