There was a need of an alternative voice in Ethiopia. A group of young Ethiopian bloggers wanted to spread awareness on human right violations. They chose to call them self “Zone 9 Bloggers″, a name referring to the zones of the notorious Kality prison, where political prisoners and journalists are being held. The prison has eight zones, but the ninth “zone” refers to the whole country. Even if being outside of the prison walls – you are never truly free.
The bloggers wanted to be a voice of this ninth zone. They decided to blog and use social media to write about democracy and human rights. They had campaigns about respecting the constitution, stopping censorship and respecting the right to demonstrate.
Despite the fact that what the Zone 9 Bloggers did was constitutional, the government labeled it a crime. Six of the bloggers, together with three journalists, were arrested in April 2014. Today, the bloggers and journalists are in the prisons of Kality and Kilinto. As many other journalists and human rights activists, they are now facing terrorism charges.
The idea to make something that tells the message about what happened originally came from prison. Endalk Chala, co-founder of the blogging group, later came up with the idea of making a video. We wanted to create an informative video that not only tells about the jailings, but also briefly informs about various issues in Ethiopia. We also wanted the video to be easy to comprehend for people who are new to the case. Creating an animated video was a good choice for this purpose, since animations is a great way of telling a story.
The video is funded by the Kality Foundation (Kalityfonden), a foundation providing financial assistance to imprisoned journalists worldwide. The video was illustrated and animated by the video production company Animática Studios. The video is made with special thanks to Melody Sundberg for script writing and directing, and to Endalk Chala and Jomanex Kasaye for script writing and assisting.
We want the video to be easy to access and it is therefore shared on YouTube and other social media. Subtitles in English for the deaf and hearing impaired is available, and can be accessed in the video settings on YouTube. Subtitles in Swedish is also available. More languages might be added in the future.
Help us spread the message!
What happened to the bloggers is a violation on freedom of expression – a freedom belonging to us all. Jailings of human rights activists, bloggers and journalists is wrong and needs to come to an end. Everyone can, and should, stand up for our right to freedom.
The video calls for action. The video is easy to spread and we are hoping for it to reach a lot of people. We are very grateful for any help in spreading the video.
Thank you for your support.