Soldiers with the Tigray Defence Force are seen in Mekele, Ethiopia, on June 30, 2021. CPJ called on the EU to promote press freedom in upcoming talks on Ethiopia. (AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

CPJ calls on EU to promote press freedom at upcoming meeting on Ethiopia

Brussels, July 8, 2021 – In preparation for the Council of the European Union’s July 12 discussion on Ethiopia, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“As the Council of the European Union seeks to address the unravelling humanitarian crisis in the conflict-affected Tigray region, it should also focus on how the Ethiopian government has been cracking down on the media,” said Tom Gibson, CPJ’s EU representative. “Journalist safety and access are vital, and the European Union should stand against Ethiopian authorities’ suppression of information and criticism.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 amid widespread media reforms, including the release of imprisoned journalists and lifting of bans on news outlets, as CPJ documented at the time.

However, this year alone, CPJ has documented physical attacks, arbitrary arrests, and the expulsion of one journalist from the country. Authorities have instituted telecommunication blackouts, especially in the Tigray region, and unidentified attackers raided a freelance journalist’s home.

Ethiopian journalists Sisay Fida and Dawit Kebede Araya were both killed by unidentified attackers this year; CPJ is investigating whether Dawit’s killing was related to his work.