Deputy editor in chief, Addis Neger, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Project: Explore mechanisms to make exile media sustainable, and to ensure their relevance and significance.
One day when he was a teenager, Girma Fantaye picked up a newspaper that had been discarded near his home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He’d never read writing full of analysis and description. The writing ran counter to everything he’d learned in the suffocating dictatorships of Ethiopia – be silent and don’t question. He was hooked. “The more people tried to smear journalism, the more I became its defender,” he recalled. After Fantaye graduated from Addis Ababa University College of Commerce with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he worked as a freelance writer and reporter for a weekly Amharic newspaper. In 2007, he co-founded Addis Neger, a weekly newspaper covering current affairs. Fantaye focused on covering politics, human rights and in-depth analysis of national and regional issues. The government began putting intense pressure on Addis Neger and in December 2009, Fantaye and his co-founders left the country. They began publishing an online version of Addis Neger from their exile in Uganda.Titles, employers and biography are from the fellowship year.