International Press Freedom Awards

Dawit Kebede, Ethiopia

2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee

CPJ/Rodney Lamkey Jr.Kebede, 30, was one of the first journalists to be jailed for independent reporting on Ethiopia's 2005 election violence. And he was among the last to be released under a presidential pardon nearly two years later. Unlike many of his colleagues who went into exile, Kebede chose to stay in Ethiopia after he walked free from Addis Ababa's Kality Prison, where he had been crammed into a communal cell with 350 political prisoners. The government rebuffed Kebede's attempts to get a publishing license after his release but relented in the face of public pressure. Kebede launched the Awramba Times in 2008, and today it is the country's only Amharic-language newspaper that dares question authorities. "Here are three things people should know about me," Kebede says. "First, it is impossible for me to live without the life I have as a journalist. Second, unless it becomes a question of life and death, I will never be leaving Ethiopia. Third, I am not an opposition. As a journalist, whatsoever would be a governing regime in Ethiopia, I will never hesitate from writing issues criticizing it for the betterment of the nation."


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International Press Freedom Awards