Newspapers in Eritrea
As the only country in Africa, Eritrea lacks entirely privately owned media
and the country has been in the Reporter Without Borders Press Freedom Index for
six consecutive years (2014). In 2001, the regime shut down all privately owned
press and an unknown number of journalists were imprisoned, including
Eritrean-Swedish Dawit Isaak. Since then, all news distribution has been state
The regime publishes a three-day newspaper, Hadas Eritrea, a weekly magazine
in English, Eritrea Profile, and a couple of magazines aimed at young people.
State Eri-TV broadcasts in three channels in four languages, while the
state-controlled Radio Zara and Dimtsi Hafash broadcast in 11 languages.
More than 6% of the population has access to the internet. Regime-critical
sites with editors outside Eritrea have been blocked on a number of occasions.
Eritrean culture has much in common with the
Ethiopian. The countries share a rich cultural heritage
through the Oriental Orthodox Church, but Eritrea is
also characterized by influences from Muslim neighboring
countries and from the Italian colonial era.
The Orthodox Church places its cultural mark mainly
on the Christian half of the population, for example
through church music. From the early Christian era there
are illustrated manuscripts and other religious art
Latest population statistics of Eritrea, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The Muslim Eritreans have religious and cultural ties
to kinsmen in both the Arab world and neighboring Sudan.
The coffee ceremony is regarded as an important
cultural expression (see Customs and customs). There is
a strong oral storytelling tradition. The stories are
often performed in the form of vocals and are
accompanied by one of the string instruments carrels
or chira wata. Dance and music play an
important role both in everyday life and in connection
with parties and religious celebrations.
The Italian colonial period 1890-1941 has left
traces, not least in the architecture of Asmara. There
are, for example, the Piazza Roma square and streets
lined with palm trees, cafes and Italian restaurants.
The distinctive architecture, with elements of art-deco
and futurism, gave Asmara a place on the UN agency
UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017. Asmara is also
characterized by the mix between Muslim and Christian,
where mosques and churches are close to each other. For
Eritrea public policy, please check
Information about 30 dead in protests
The US embassy in Asmara reports on shootings in connection with protests in
several parts of the capital. Information about unrest in politically tight
Eritrea is very uncommon. On social media, images are said to come from Asmara
and depict running people and sounds of shots. According to opposition media, at
least 28 people have been killed in a demonstration against the capture of the
leader of a large Islamic school in the city. The country's information minister
comments on the information and says that a demonstration was dissolved but no
one was injured. According to the government, the protest must have affected the
government's plans to secularize the country's school system.
Orthodox patriarch emerges after ten years of house arrest
Former Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church Abune Antonios appears in
public for the first time since the regime placed him under house arrest in
2007. He attends a mass at the Asmara Orthodox Cathedral. He was deprived of his
position as head of the church in 2006 after he refused to ban 3,000 government
opponents and demanded that political prisoners be released. It is unclear if
the appearance means that the house arrest is set aside.
The UN wants to see a peaceful solution to border conflict
The UN Security Council calls on Eritrea and Djibouti to resolve their border
conflict with peaceful means in accordance with international law principles.
The Security Council supports a proposal from the AU to send an investigation
commission to the disputed border area.
AU appeals for calm at troubled border
17th of June
AU appeals to Eritrea and Djibouti to show restraint since Djibouti accused
Eritrea of bringing in soldiers in the border region of Doumeira, recently
evacuated by a Qatari observer force. Djibouti says that if Eritrea is looking
for a military solution to the countries' border conflict "then Djibouti is
ready". The African Union (AU) offers to help both countries normalize their
Qatar brings home peacekeeping
The military observer force from Qatar, which since 2010 has guarded the
border between Eritrea and Djibouti (see Foreign Policy and Defense) is
withdrawn. The reason is that both countries stood on Saudi Arabia's side in a
diplomatic conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others.
Criticism of US sanctions
The Eritrean government condemns the US for banning contacts with the
Eritrean Navy. The sanctions are imposed after a UN commission ruled that
Eritrea attempted to purchase military communications equipment from North Korea
in violation of the UN ban on military trade with that country. The unveiling
happened in July 2016 when a North Korean vessel on its way to Eritrea was
launched at sea and the cargo was seized. The Eritrean Department of Information
describes the US sanctions as "inexplicable and unjustified".
Switzerland closes the door
Eritreans will no longer be granted automatic refugee status in Switzerland
if they say they have left their country illegally. A Swiss court has ruled that
the generous law that has given virtually all Eritrean asylum has been abused,
which a number of Swiss politicians have argued for some time. The court cites
information on how Eritreans with political asylum in Switzerland could travel
back to their home country to meet relatives without being harassed.