The selection of Ethiopia to host the World Press Freedom Day signifies recognition for the ongoing sweeping reform in the country, media experts said.

Last November, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has selected Ethiopia to host the 2019 World Press Freedom Day, it was learned.

The 26th edition of World Press Freedom Day which will take place in Addis Ababa is expected to focus on the role of the media in elections and democracy.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the journalists from various media houses said the move by UNESCO revealed a shore up for the democratic reforms in Ethiopia, especially in the media sector.

Alem Hailu, Deputy Editor In-Chief, at Ethiopian Press Agency said selecting Ethiopia as a hosting country to World Press Freedom Day shows a firm recognition for the reform in the country, which encourage press freedom to thrive.

“Selecting Ethiopia as a hosting country to celebrate World Press Freedom Day shows the recognition of the reform in the country,  the release of detained journalists, political prisoners, and human right activists, and returning back of opposition political parties to their homeland have attracted international community to celebrate the day in Ethiopia,” he said.

Addis Ababa Mass Media Agency News Director, Mubarek Mohammed told ENA that Ethiopia’s hosting the World Press Day demonstrates the progress in media freedom following the recent reform in the country.

“After long years of press repression, Ethiopia becomes a country with no jailed journalist because of expressing opinion. Hence, I feel happy to see this day of press freedom,” Mubarek said.

He further noted that “taking this opportunity of press freedom, celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Ethiopia has positive impact to strength the overall reform of the country in general and promote the press freedom in particular.”

“It is the time that freedom of press revives, detained journalist releases and Medias become a market place of idea, opinion and expression,” he indicated.

Editor In-Chief of Capital Newspaper, Girum Abate said on his part celebrating the World Press Freedom Day in Ethiopia is endorsements for the country to further improve freedom of press.

He added that though the country needs a long way to go, since recently there are some progresses in media freedom and respect for human rights.

“Even if there are improvements in the freedom of press in the country after the reform but it is difficult to say freedom of press has attained in the country; still journalists are not free to do their routine job in the work place,” he said.

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the significance of freedom of the press.

The World Press Freedom Day, which was instituted with objective of promoting an independent a pluralistic press, last year hosted in Accra, Ghana.

It is a day which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. (ENA)