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Defamation Law in Ethiopia: The Interplay between the Right to Reputation and Freedom of Expression

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DOI: 10.4236/blr.2018.93024    541 Downloads   1,356 Views


This article attempts to explore the unresolved debate on conflicting relationship between the right to free expression and defamation law that primarily intended to protect right to reputation. It also shows how far defamation law has been used to suppress expression and limit access to information in most countries in general and in Ethiopia in particular. To this end, the article examines the prevailing trend of manipulating strict defamation law as a method to make media deliberately inefficient and weak so that silence and intimidate journalists under the guise of protecting reputation. Above all, the central theme of this article is to assess whether or not the existing defamation law of Ethiopia comply with the international principle that urges decriminalization of defamation law. Toward this, provisions which govern acts of defamation under Ethiopian Constitution and other laws to the effect will be scrutinized. Furthermore, this article suggests how International human right principles should be contextually adopted to Ethiopia to limit abuse of defamation law. Finally, after a thorough examination of conflicting interest and the necessary balance between the right to reputation and freedom of expression under Ethiopian law context, the right way to deal with defamation law would be suggested.

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Kabtiyemer, Y. (2018) Defamation Law in Ethiopia: The Interplay between the Right to Reputation and Freedom of Expression. Beijing Law Review, 9, 381-400. doi: 10.4236/blr.2018.93024.

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