Ethiopia

Six journalists freed from Ethiopian jail

CPJ welcomes the release of six journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia, the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa. Critical columnist Reeyot Alemu, jailed since June 2011 after being handed a 14-year prison sentence on terrorism charges, is freed on July 8. Her release comes a day after five journalists, including Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kibret from the Zone 9 blogging collective, are freed and terrorism charges leveled against them are dropped. Eleven journalists remain in jail in Ethiopia, including four Zone 9 bloggers.

Press Uncuffed: Support jailed journalists
Freed: Reeyot Alemu (IWMF)

Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia releases imprisoned journalist Reeyot Alemu

New York, July 9, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison today of Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu, a critical columnist who has been jailed since June 2011 on terrorism charges. Reeyot was sentenced in 2012 to 14 years in prison, which was reduced to five years on appeal. Reeyot told CPJ today that she was happy to be free and that her health was "okay," but that she was still taking painkillers. The journalist suffered from breast tumors while in prison.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia releases five journalists, drops all charges against them

Nairobi, July 8, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison today of two bloggers affiliated with the independent Ethiopian collective Zone 9 and three other journalists. All charges have been dropped against them, according to exiled Ethiopian journalists who spoke to CPJ and a report by the pro-government Fana Radio. The journalists--editor Asmamaw Hailegiorgis; freelancers Edom Kassaye and Tesfalem Waldyes; and bloggers Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kibret--were arrested in late April 2014, along with four other Zone 9 bloggers--Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Befekadu Hailu, and Natnail Feleke. All were charged with incitement and terrorism, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

With limited independent press, Ethiopians left voting in the dark

A rally for the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front in Addis Ababa. The general election is on May 24 but with a diminished press, many voters struggle to find independent information. (AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

On Sunday Ethiopians go to the polls in the country's fifth general election since the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power more than 20 years ago. Citizens are expected to choose the right party to lead them for the next five years. To do so, they need to have a clear understanding of their country's political, social, and economic situation. They need to know which parties have the candidates and policies best suited to their own hopes and aspirations. But in a country with limited independent media, many Ethiopians struggle to find the information needed to help them make informed decisions.

May 22, 2015 4:17 PM ET

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Impact   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Latvia, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2015

CPJ launches annual publication Attacks on the Press


At a U.N. press conference on April 27 to launch CPJ's annual publication Attacks on the Press, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon called on the U.N. Security Council to include in its May 27 debate on Journalist Safety a warning to states that they should not use national security as an excuse to jail, harass, or censor journalists.

The last three years have been the most deadly for the press, according to CPJ research. One of the reasons is the developing "terror dynamic"--non-state actors targeting journalists with violence while governments restrict civil liberties and press freedom in response. This phenomenon was amply documented in essays published in this year's edition of Attacks on the Press.

The book, which emphasizes reporting and analysis by CPJ staff and outside experts, features essays on multiple threats facing the press: the conflict in Syria, where freelancers and local journalists must adapt to an environment in which they are targets; terror and criminal groups, in countries as Syria, Nigeria, and Mexico, which document their own atrocities and disseminate them through social media; and crackdowns on the press in Ethiopia and Egypt, where governments use the threat of terror to justify repression. Several essays in the book also look at the impact of surveillance in more democratic societies, including those in Europe. The book also includes CPJ's list of the 10 Most Censored Countries.

The print edition of Attacks on the Press is published by Bloomberg Press, an imprint of Wiley, and is available for purchase.

May 7, 2015 4:24 PM ET

Blog   |   Ethiopia

One year after arrest Zone 9 bloggers remain imprisoned as trial drags on

It will be one year this weekend since six bloggers were arrested in Addis Ababa, just days after the group announced on Facebook that their Zone 9 blog would resume publishing after seven months of inactivity. As the anniversary of the arrests approaches on Saturday, Soleyana S. Gebremichale, one of the Zone 9 founders who was charged in absentia, told me the situation was not hopeless.

Impact   |   Ethiopia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, March 2015

Press Uncuffed: Free the Press

On March 26, CPJ partnered with students at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and Knight chair and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest to launch the Press Uncuffed: Free the Press campaign at the Newseum in Washington. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about nine journalists imprisoned around the world in relation to their work. At least 221 journalists were behind bars when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census.

The students and Priest developed the idea of selling bracelets bearing the names of nine jailed journalists. All proceeds are being donated CPJ.

Click here to read the profiles of the featured journalists or here to purchase a bracelet.



April 1, 2015 3:59 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia denies Temesghen Desalegn access to medical care in jail

The health of Temesghen Desalegn has deteriorated in prison, but he has been denied medical care. (Awramba Times)

Nairobi, March 16, 2015--Authorities in Ethiopia have denied medical attention to Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn, who has been imprisoned since October, according to sources close to the journalist.

Temesghen Desalegn, owner of the now-defunct newsmagazine Feteh (Justice), is serving a three-year term in Ziway Prison, outside Addis Ababa, on charges of defamation, incitement, and false publication in connection with a series of opinion pieces he wrote in Feteh in 2012, according to news reports and a translation of the charge sheet that CPJ reviewed.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Internet

Ethiopia suspected of spying on independent TV network ESAT

New York, March 10, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by research that indicates the Ethiopian government used spyware to monitor journalists at U.S.-based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) in what appears to be a continuation of surveillance first reported in February 2014.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance, Kenya

Mission Journal: Ethiopian journalists must choose between being locked up or locked out

Journalists who fled to Nairobi over security fears perform a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony in one of the cramped apartments they share. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

A sharp increase in the number of Ethiopian journalists fleeing into exile has been recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists in the past 12 months. More than 30--twice the number of exiles CPJ documented in 2012 and 2013 combined--were forced to leave after the government began a campaign of arrests. In October, Nicole Schilit of CPJ's Journalist Assistance program and Martial Tourneur of partner group Reporters Without Borders traveled to Nairobi in Kenya to meet some of those forced to flee.

December 29, 2014 10:01 AM ET

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