The culture is in the hands of those who toe the line

Biased and centrally controlled news reporting, poor professional knowledge, endemic resignation amongst journalists and misleading directives—this is how author and journalist Abraham T. Zere describes the media climate in Eritrea. What happens when journalists and authors have just two alternatives—to kowtow to the ruling party or flee the country?

The price of being a journalist in Eritrea

Being a journalist in Eritrea means risking your life every day. Here, the pseudonym Mussie Hadgu writes about what made him become a journalist. “The crimes I witnessed shook me to the core, and I felt I had to expose these crimes, come what may.”

Soon five thousand days in prison

On 2 June, it will be exactly 5,000 days since the imprisonment of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak. A quarter of his life has gone to waste. Here, Esayas Isaak writes about his brother.

My Eritrea

Poet and journalist Haile Bizen is known in his native Eritrea by the epithet “the man who broke the silence”. He was forced to flee the country after repeated persecution and systematic interrogation in connection with the publication of his poetry collection “Behind the doors” and found asylum in Norway.

The struggle is between the power of politics and the power of information

In 2001, mass protests broke out in Eritrea after a number of top officials and members of President Isaias Afewerki’s party publicly criticised his autocratic rule and failure to implement democratic reform. What could have led to political change became its antithesis—Aferwerki’s regime clamped down hard on the opposition.

Underground journalism in Eritrea

Eritrea has long languished at the bottom of Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Despite this, many journalists risk their lives to report on what is happening in the country. One of them is Stefanos Temolso, who used a false identity for six years to report from within the ruling party. When things became too dangerous, he was forced to flee.

“You can’t wake up someone who pretends to be asleep”—about Eritrea’s future

January saw the release on bail of six journalists from the radio station Bana in Eritrea. They had been behind bars since 2009, when the government launched a large-scale raid on journalists.

Nights and days

On September 23 ten years had passed since the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak and his colleagues at the Eritrean newspaper Seitit was imprisoned by the Afwerki regime. Today he is being held at the notorious “death camp” Eira Eiro outside of Asmara. The Isaak case has received enormous attention far beyond Sweden.

To Dawit Isaak

Dawit Isaak and his colleagues were imprisoned in Eritrea on September 23, 2001. He’s still being held behind bars because of using his right to express himself. Ida Börjel is one of the most interesting poets in Sweden right now. In this poem to Dawit Isaak, she uses her right to express herself to open a door into the memory and ten years of silence.


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