Ethiopia

2011


Blog   |   CPJ, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda

In Nairobi, plans to improve aid to exiled journalists

Kassahun Yilma left Ethiopia quickly in December 2009. He didn't have time to save money for the journey, choose a place to go, arrange housing or a job. He left his wife, his mother, his house and all his friends behind. Yilma didn't know what lay ahead. He only knew that if he stayed, he risked becoming a victim of a government-waged campaign against Addis Neger, the newspaper where he worked as a reporter.  "I ran away just to save my life," says Yilma, "because I was in fear for it."

December 16, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Awramba Times is latest Ethiopian paper to vanish

Awramba Times featured parliamentary affairs, health issues, women's issues, satire, and folklore. (CPJ)

A couple of weeks ago, newspaper editor Dawit Kebede, an International Press Freedom award winner, fled Ethiopia. Sadly, Dawit's Awramba Times is the latest in a long list of Amharic-language private publications to vanish from the market following the incarceration or flight into exile of their editors.

December 9, 2011 5:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Intimidation or imprisonment by 'democratic instruments'

The government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, foreground, is holding seven journalists, most on anti-state charges. (Reuters)

Three years ago, I met Minister Bereket Simon at his office at the center of Addis Ababa. I was with my colleague Abiye Teklemariam -- who was recently charged with terrorism, treason and espionage along with five other journalists, including myself.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Dawit Kebede joins Ethiopia's exiled journalists

Kebede, left, is presented with a 2010 CPJ award by Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson. (Afrikanspot)

New York, November 21, 2011--Dawit Kebede, managing editor of Awramba Times, one of Ethiopia's two remaining independent Amharic-language newspapers offering critical analysis of local politics, announced today that he was forced to leave the country after he received a tip last week about alleged government plans to re-imprison him. Kebede also said that the paper was unlikely to continue publishing.

Kebede, whom CPJ honored a year ago for perseverance in pursuing independent journalism in Ethiopia despite ongoing government intimidation, told CPJ from Washington, D.C., that official sources warned him on Thursday of preparations by the Ministry of Justice and Government Communication Affairs to revoke the conditional pardon that authorities offered in 2007 to him and other imprisoned journalists rounded up in a brutal November 2005 crackdown.

November 21, 2011 2:16 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian satirist silently joins ranks of the exiled

An Abé Tokichaw column from March 2011 (CPJ)

Newspaper satirist Abebe Tolla, better known as Abé Tokichaw, fled Ethiopia fearing imprisonment in retaliation for critical news commentaries, media reported this week. His exit was overshadowed by the trial of opposition figures and journalists on charges of terrorism.

In an interview he gave to U.S.-based Addis Neger Online from an undisclosed location, Abebe said he fled the country because security agents threatened to throw him in prison. He did not even bid farewell to family members. Abebe alleged that state security agents pressured him for months to become an informant at his newspaper, the critical Amharic weekly Feteh.

November 16, 2011 5:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia charges six journalists with terrorism

From left: Nega, Gellaw, Negash, Teklemariam, Yenealem, and Belew. (CPJ)

New York, November 11, 2011--A judge in Ethiopia's federal high court charged six journalists with terrorism on Thursday under the country's antiterrorism law, bringing the number of journalists charged under the statute since June to 10, CPJ research found. 

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia steps up terrorism allegations against journalists

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi speaks to Parliament Thursday. (CPJ)

New York, October 24, 2011--Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last week accused journalists in the country of being "messengers" with "terrorist" groups, while a state newspaper accused the chief editor of an independent publication of having terrorist ties and called on security forces to "take action" against him. The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it condemns this campaign of intimidation against the private press.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia

Swedish support for jailed colleagues in Ethiopia, Eritrea

Swedish journalist Elsa Persson (Journalisternas Solidariska Fängelseaktion)

If you pass by Kronoberg Prison in Sweden's capital, Stockholm, you will see journalists chained to its gates. They have committed no crime. For over a week, journalists have taken turns locking themselves up in front of the prison to raise awareness of the imprisonment of three colleagues held in the Horn of Africa.

October 17, 2011 4:47 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Zenawi calls jailed Swedish journalists terror accomplices

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Reuters)

New York, October 11, 2011--Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's public accusations on Monday against two imprisoned Swedish journalists compromise the presumption of their innocence and predetermine the outcome of their case, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalists were arrested in Ethiopia in July and charged with terrorism for associating with armed separatists.

In July, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, contributors to the Sweden-based photo agency Kontinent, were arrested after they crossed with rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) into Ogaden, an oil-rich province where the media is barred independent access. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government formally designated the ONLF a terrorist group under an anti-terrorism law. Under this 2009 law, journalists risk up to 20 years in prison if the government deems their reporting favorable to groups designated as terrorists. Both journalists were charged without their lawyers present, CPJ research shows.

October 11, 2011 5:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia case, a response to WikiLeaks

Last week, we learned that Ethiopian journalist Argaw Ashine was facing possible arrest and needed to flee the country. During a 10-day period in September, he had been summoned three times by Ethiopian authorities and questioned about a reference to him in a cable sent by the U.S. Embassy in October 2009 and made public by WikiLeaks last month.
September 19, 2011 1:05 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Two Ethiopian journalists detained on terrorism charges

New York, September 16, 2011--Authorities in Ethiopia arrested two independent journalists this week on accusations of involvement in a terrorism plot, bringing the total number of journalists imprisoned since June under the country's far-reaching antiterrorism legislation to six, CPJ research shows.

September 16, 2011 5:04 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist ID'd in WikiLeaks cable flees country

Addis Neger's newsroom in 2009, before the editors fled and the paper folded. (Addis Neger)

New York, September 14, 2011--U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed last month by WikiLeaks cited an Ethiopian journalist by name and referred to his unnamed government source, forcing the journalist to flee the country after police interrogated him over the source's identity, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. It is the first instance CPJ has confirmed in which a citation in one of the cables has caused direct repercussions for a journalist.

September 14, 2011 5:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, terrorism charges against five journalists

From left, Reeyot, Woubshet, Persson, and Schibbye. (Feteh, Awramba Times, Kontinent)

New York, September 7, 2011--Ethiopia filed terrorism charges on Tuesday against four independent journalists detained in the country since June and July, along with the editor of a U.S.-based news forum critical of the Addis Ababa government, according to local sources and news reports.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Terrorists? A look at two jailed Ethiopian journalists

At the end of June, Ethiopia's Anti-Terror Task Force arrested nine people on charges of attempting to "destroy electrical and telecommunication infrastructures" with support from Ethiopia's arch-enemy, Eritrea. Held under Ethiopia's far-reaching antiterrorism law, only four of the suspects' names have so far been revealed and two of them happen to be journalists

July 20, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

UNHCHR grills Ethiopia on anti-terror law

Ethiopian officials were defiant in the face of U.N. questioning (UN)

This week, the Human Rights Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reviewed Ethiopia's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including its press freedom record. Peppered with questions about an indefensible record of abuse--jailing the second largest number of journalists in Africa and leading the continent in Internet censorship--representatives of the Ethiopian government responded with cursory talking points and bold denials in contradiction of the facts.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Sweden

Ethiopia detains two Swedish journalists

Persson (Kontinent)

New York, July 5, 2011--Two Swedish journalists reporting on the activities of armed separatists operating in an oil-rich province of eastern Ethiopia have been detained without charge since Thursday in the Horn of Africa nation, according to news reports and government officials.

Ethiopian security forces arrested photojournalist Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye, contributors to the Sweden-based agency Kontinent, along the border with neighboring Somalia, government spokesman Bereket Simon told CPJ.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia accuses two jailed journalists of terrorism plot

Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye (CPJ/Awramba Times)

New York, June 29, 2011--The Ethiopian government today publicly today accused an editor and a columnist of involvement in a terrorism plot, according to news reports and local journalists. Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of the leading Awramba Times newspaper and Reeyot Alemu, columnist for the weekly Feteh, have been held incommunicado under Ethiopia's far-reaching anti-terrorism law since last week. 

June 29, 2011 4:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist likely held under anti-terrorism law

New York, June 23, 2011--Ethiopian authorities have been holding a newspaper columnist incommunicado since Tuesday, local journalists told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reeyot Alemu, a regular contributor to the independent weekly Feteh, was expected to spend the next four weeks in preventive detention under what appears to be Ethiopia's sweeping anti-terrorism law.  

Alemu, at left, is the second journalist picked up and held without charge in less than a week and taken into custody at the federal investigation center at Maekelawi Prison in the capital, Addis Ababa. Deputy Editor Woubshet Taye of the weekly Awramba Times has been held since Sunday, according to CPJ research.
June 24, 2011 4:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, anti-terrorism law chills reporting on security

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling party has designated five groups as terrorist entities. (AFP)

How can an Ethiopian reporter cover the activities of Ethiopia's leading opposition figure, Berhanu Nega, or an attack by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels without risking prosecution and a 20-year prison sentence? Such questions have haunted Ethiopian journalists since a far-reaching anti-terrorism law came into effect in 2009. The law criminalizes any reporting authorities deem to "encourage" or "provide moral support" to groups and causes the government labels as "terrorists."

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist illegally detained since Sunday

(Awramba Times)

New York, June 21, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Ethiopian authorities today to immediately release journalist Woubshet Taye, at left, who has been held since Sunday.

Police picked up Taye, deputy editor of the leading independent weekly Awramba Times, at his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, at 3 p.m. and confiscated several documents, cameras, CDs, and selected copies of Awramba Times, local journalists told CPJ. The newspaper covers politics in-depth.

June 21, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Reports   |   Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Journalists in exile 2011: Iran, Cuba drive out critics

Two of the world’s most repressive nations each forced at least 18 journalists to flee their homes in the past year. In exile, these journalists face enormous challenges. A CPJ special report by Elisabeth Witchel.

Newly freed Cuban detainees and their families in a bus after their arrival in Madrid. Exile was the price the detainees paid for their freedom. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda

The Internet in East Africa: An aid or a weapon?

In Johannesburg. (CPJ)

Frank Nyakairu has seen it all. A veteran war reporter, he has covered the horrors of northern Uganda and Somalia, among others places. And throughout this time of rich but often appalling experiences, he has also seen the auspicious--and sometimes terrifying--impact the Internet has had on East African reporters. 

Nyakairu spoke at a recent workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa, co-organized by Global Voices, Google Africa, and CPJ. Attendees at the conference comprised some of the most active African bloggers and online reporters on the continent who came to learn how to sharpen their online reporting skills while avoiding the censors. 

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia censors UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event

Pro-government journalists and officials who replaced independent journalists sit on a WPFD panel in Addis Ababa on Tuesday. (Awramba Times)

New York, May 5, 2011--Officials in Ethiopia hijacked a local UNESCO-sponsored World Press Freedom Day event, installing government-backed journalists as speakers and nixing independent journalists slated to speak. There was no discussion, as originally planned, of this year's global theme on new media and the Internet at the Tuesday forum, according to local sources and news reports.

May 5, 2011 4:36 PM ET

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Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors

The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression. A CPJ special report by Danny O’Brien

A security line outside Google's Beijing office. (AP/Andy Wong)

Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Multimedia, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

Audio Report: The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors




In our special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors," CPJ examines the 10 prevailing strategies of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. In this accompanying podcast, CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney notes that these strategies range from sophisticated cyber-attacks to traditional brute-force techniques. Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:47)

Read CPJ's special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors."

May 2, 2011 8:44 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia should allow German broadcasts

New York, April 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on authorities in Ethiopia to ensure that broadcasts of the German state-funded station Deutsche Welle, which had been jammed, be allowed to air freely. Local journalists confirmed a report by the Bonn-based international broadcaster that its programs were inaudible in Ethiopia last week until Friday.

April 11, 2011 5:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Zimbabwe

Sub-Saharan Africa censors Mideast protests

A man sets up a satellite dish in Zimbabwe, where state news is severely restricted on the ongoing protests in the Middle East, but where CNN is still accessible. (AP)As news of Middle Eastern and North African protests swirl around the globe, satellite television and the Internet prove vital sources of information for Africans as governments fearful of an informed citizenry and a free press such as in Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, and Zimbabwe impose total news blackouts on the developments.

Blog   |   Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda

Nairobi Attacks launch probes investigative reporting

Journalists at CPJ's Nairobi launch of Attacks on the Press today. (CPJ)At CPJ's book launch of our annual survey of press freedom conditions across the world, Attacks on the Press, today in Nairobi, we focused on the growing theme of challenges to investigative journalism in Africa, with a particular look at East Africa. The subject certainly resonated with the local and foreign journalists here. 
February 15, 2011 3:01 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Africa Analysis

Across Continent, Governments Criminalize
Investigative Reporting

Ivory Coast's President and 2010 presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo talks to the press. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

By Mohamed Keita

Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Editor Dawit Kebede honored with International Press Freedom Award.
• Authorities jail critical journalists, jam VOA Amharic broadcasts.

Key Statistic
7: Hours that two newspaper editors were interrogated as Zenawi gave speech on freedom of choice.


The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, imprisoned journalists, jammed foreign broadcasters, and blocked websites as it swept general elections in May. The government-controlled National Electoral Board declared the EPRDF-led coalition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in power since 1991, the winner in all but two of 547 contested parliamentary seats, prompting opposition allegations of voter intimidation and ballot-rigging, as well as U.S. and European Union criticism. Zenawi won another five-year term as his government dismissed criticism of the vote as a smear campaign. Opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa was kept in prison until October.

February 15, 2011 12:35 AM ET
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