What Is ESAT Satellite Television?

The ESAT satellite television station and media outlet provides is a non-profit organization that promotes human rights and democratic ideals in Ethiopia. The organization's full name is Ethiopian Satellite Television. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, ESAT maintains branch studios in Washington D.C. and London, England.

ESAT's program roster is weighted towards news reporting and analysis. However, ESAT also features documentaries, talk shows, entertainment and cultural programming. All original ESAT programming is in Amharic, Ethiopia's primary spoken language. ESAT plans on producing programming in other Ethiopian dialects as funds become available.

On its website, ESAT maintains an English-language news feed with stories related to Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora. Currently, the Ethiopian diaspora provides ESAT with the bulk of its funding, although ESAT is actively seeking funding from various NGOs.

ESAT's primary objective is to provide free and independent information access to residents of Ethiopia. In doing so, ESAT counterbalances the current Ethiopian regime, which regularly suppresses and persecutes independent journalists. From 2010 to 2015, over 150 journalists were forced out of Ethiopia. Many journalists faced arbitrary arrest and inhumane jail conditions. ESAT works to fill the void left by the Ethiopian government's systematic campaign of press intimidation. As of 2015, the Ethiopian government had jammed ESAT's satellite broadcast five times, in violation of international conventions and the Ethiopian Constitution.