Assault, vandalism reported at Awramba Times

On August 17, 2010, two men barged into the offices of the Awramba Times, the independent Amharic-language weekly in the capital, Addis Ababa, and assaulted Moges Tikuye, a security guard, the paper reported. Tikuye suffered minor injuries. Early the next morning, assailants smashed the windows and doors of the office.

In an interview with the Amharic service of the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, Ethiopian federal police Sgt. Gulilat Assefa, said police had arrested a suspect and were looking for at least one other person. Speaking with CPJ, Assefa described the incident as a “quarrel” between the Awramba Times security guard and “random kids.”

Awramba Times Editor Dawit Kebede disputed police characterizations that played down the incident. He said police were slow to respond to the initial confrontation.  Kebede said the newspaper had not received any threats in connection with recent reporting, but the paper has been the target of government intimidation and harassment in the past.

In May, Desta Tesfaw, an official of the government-controlled media regulatory agency Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority, accused the Awramba Times of “intentionally inciting and misguiding the public” in a column raising critical questions about recent Ethiopian elections, according to local journalists. In July, Ethio Channel, a pro-government publication, published a column accusing Awramba Times of being antistate and having ties to banned opposition movements.