Eritrea Culture

Eritrea Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Eritrea

According to THERELIGIONFAQS.COM, Eritrea is a country located in Africa. 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 propaganda.

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.


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, 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 objects.

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.



Information about 30 dead in protests

November 1st

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

July 17

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

June 20

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 relations.

Qatar brings home peacekeeping

June 14

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

April 4th

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

February 2

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.

Eritrea Culture

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