Ethiopian journalist sent to jail for not identifying source
August 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET
New York, August 8, 2005—Ethiopia's Supreme Court has sentenced a newspaper editor to one month in jail on a contempt charge after the editor refused to identify an unnamed source who criticized an earlier court ruling. The editor of a second paper was fined in a related case.
Tamrat Serbesa, editor-in-chief of the private Amharic-language weekly Satanaw, was sentenced Friday in connection with the paper's coverage of a Supreme Court verdict in a case involving the National Election Board. The court rejected the opposition CUD party's claim that the election board improperly announced provisional results of the May 15 parliamentary elections before the final count was determined.
On July 7, the Supreme Court ordered Serbesa and Andualem Ayle, editor-in-chief of the private Amharic-language weekly Ethiop, to reveal the sources of anonymous quotes published in their newspapers criticizing the verdict, including one in Satanaw attributed to an unnamed lawyer who deemed the verdict "shameful."
Ayle was ordered to pay a fine of 2,000 birr (US$220) in Friday's decision.
"In pursuing this contempt case, the court was clearly intent on punishing those who would dare criticize its rulings. It sends a chilling signal to the entire Ethiopian press corps that the court will not tolerate public scrutiny," said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "We call on Ethiopian authorities to release Tamrat Serbesa immediately and unconditionally."
The charge was brought amid a government crackdown on Ethiopia's private press following the disputed election. Since deadly clashes between government security forces and opposition supporters erupted in early June, authorities have pressed criminal charges against more than 10 editors from the Amharic-language press in connection with their coverage of the election's aftermath. Many other journalists report being harassed or otherwise intimidated for their coverage.
One of those facing criminal charges stemming from coverage of this period is veteran journalist Amare Aregawi, editor of the English- and Amharic-language Reporter. Two local sources told CPJ that state media in Ethiopia have also run a smear campaign against The Reporter, accusing it of inciting the population to revolt against the government.
In Ethiopia, mobile internet cut in the capital amid clashes and protests
September 21, 2018 12:34 PM ET
Nairobi, September 21, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists today urged Ethiopian authorities to ensure internet is available, including during times of unrest when access to information provided by journalists is crucial. Mobile internet was unavailable in the capital, Addis Ababa, from September 17 to the morning of September 19...
In Ethiopia, driver for news crew dies from injuries after attack
July 23, 2018 10:58 AM ET
Nairobi, July 23, 2017--Authorities in Ethiopia should investigate an attack on a news crew from the state-owned Dire Dawa Mass Media Agency that led to the death of the crew's driver, Suleiman Mahamed, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....
Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown
November 16, 2016 11:54 PM ET
Nairobi, November 17, 2016--Ethiopia should immediately release all journalists detained amid an intensifying crackdown on the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, Ethiopian authorities have jailed a newspaper editor and detained two members of the award-winning Zone 9 bloggers' collective, which has faced continuous...
New York, October 3, 2016 - Ethiopian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release blogger Seyoum Teshome, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Teshome on October 1, according to press accounts and opposition activists....