Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia harasses Voice of America and its sources

Police detained a journalist covering this protest by Ethiopian Muslims today. (EthioTube)

Nairobi, October 5, 2012--Ethiopian authorities should halt their harassment of journalists covering the country's Muslim community and their intimidation of citizens who have tried to speak to reporters about sensitive religious, ethnic, and political issues, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Police in the capital, Addis Ababa, briefly detained Marthe Van Der Wolf, a reporter with the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America as she was covering a protest by members of Ethiopia's Muslim community at the Anwar Mosque, local journalists said. The protesters were demonstrating against alleged government interference in Islamic Council elections scheduled for Sunday, according to VOA and local journalists.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Sweden

Ethiopia should release journalists still in prison

Swedish journalists Johan Persson
and Martin Schibbye appear on state television. (ETV/YouTube)

Nairobi, September 11, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Ethiopian government to set free six journalists in prison for their work, a day after Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were pardoned and released from Kality Prison in the capital Addis Ababa.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia frees prominent journalist, drops all charges

Temesghen Desalegn (Awramba Times)

New York, August 28, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's decision by the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice to release the editor of a leading independent weekly from jail and drop all criminal charges against him. CPJ also calls for the release of eight other journalists now imprisoned in Ethiopia for their work.

Temesghen Desalegn, editor of Feteh, was released from Kality Prison in Addis Ababa, the capital, at around 3 p.m. today, according to Feteh Deputy Editor Hailemeskel Beshewamyelhu. The journalist was jailed on Friday in connection with his articles that appeared in seven editions of Feteh and criticized the policies of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to local journalists.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian authorities crack down on Muslim press

Ethiopian Muslims are staging protests every Friday. (Hayat Se)

Nairobi, August 9, 2012--Ethiopian authorities must release a journalist who has been detained for almost three weeks, and allow three Muslim news outlets to resume publishing immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Local journalists believe the Muslim press in Ethiopia is being targeted for its coverage of protests by the Muslim community.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian appeals court reduces sentence of Reeyot Alemu

The front cover of Reeyot Alemu's book, 'EPRDF's Red Pen.' (Reeyot Alemu)

Nairobi, August 3, 2012--An appeals court in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, has reduced a 14-year prison sentence given to journalist Reeyot Alemu in January to five years and dropped most of the terrorism charges against her, according to local journalists.

Reeyot, a columnist for the independent weekly Feteh, was sentenced in January and fined 33,000 birrs (US$1,500) under Ethiopia's sweeping anti-terrorism law for planning and conspiring a terrorist act; possessing property for terrorist acts; and participating in the promotion or communication of a terrorist act, according to local journalists.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia sentences Eskinder, 5 others on terror charges

From left: Eskinder, Abebe Gellaw, Mesfin, Abiye, Fasil, and Abebe Belew.

Nairobi, July 13, 2012--An Ethiopian court today handed down heavy prison sentences to six journalists convicted on vague terrorism charges, local journalists and news reports said. Award-winning blogger Eskinder Nega got an 18-year term; the others live in exile and were sentenced in absentia.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Former Ethiopian state radio journalist released

Abdulsemed Mohammed (Courtesy Abdulsemed)

Nairobi, July 11, 2012--A veteran Ethiopian state journalist who was twice imprisoned on vague corruption and copyright charges and recently convicted on the lesser charge was released today on account of a reduced sentence, local journalists said.

A panel of judges at the Lideta Federal High Court in the capital, Addis Ababa, sentenced Abdulsemed Mohammed, a former senior producer with government-controlled broadcaster Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), to three and half years in prison but said he could go free on account of time already served. The judges also put Abdulsemed on probation for two years, the local journalists said.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Eskinder Nega, 5 exiled journalists convicted of terrorism

From left: Eskinder, Abebe Gellaw, Mesfin, Abiye, Fasil, and Abebe Belew.

Nairobi, June 27, 2012--Today's conviction of six Ethiopian journalists on vague terrorism charges is an affront to the rule of law and the constitution in the Horn of Africa country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least 11 journalists have been charged with terrorism since November 2011, according to CPJ research.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

CPJ condemns Eskinder Nega verdict in Ethiopia

New York, June 27, 2012-The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's conviction of Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega on baseless terrorism charges. "The Ethiopian government has once again succeeded in misusing the law to silence critical and independent reporting," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "The charges against Eskinder are baseless and politically motivated in reprisal for his writings. His conviction reiterates that Ethiopia will not hesitate to punish a probing press by imprisoning journalists or pushing them into exile."

June 27, 2012 8:54 AM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian law criminalizes independent telecom use

Nairobi, June 15, 2012--A new law in Ethiopia imposes prison sentences for offenses related to the independent use of telecommunications tools and services, according to local journalists and news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by broad and vaguely worded provisions of the law, under which journalists could be prosecuted for the methods they use to circumvent government surveillance and censorship.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

CPJ and Africa Media Initiative meet Ethiopian minister

Addis Ababa, June 11, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) called for the release of journalists being held under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism laws and requested a review of those laws as they affect freedom of speech.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian police detain VOA reporter, interpreter

Muslims gather to protest perceived government interference in religious affairs. (DimtsachinYisema)

Nairobi, May 25, 2012--Police in Ethiopia today detained Peter Heinlein, a correspondent for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, along with Simegnish Yekoye, a freelance reporter and Heinlein's interpreter, according to Jennifer Janin, the Africa coverage editor for VOA, and local journalists.

Letters   |   Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, USA

Obama should raise press freedom in Africa food talks

New York, May 16, 2012--President Obama should acknowledge the role that independent news reporting plays in assessing agricultural challenges and facilitating the response to famine, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to the White House. Ethiopia in particular downplays the extent of food crises and undermines the ability of donor nations and aid groups to help by denying journalists access to sensitive areas and censoring independent coverage.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, new printing directive equals pre-censorship

The directive from Berhanena Selam, in Amharic. (CPJ)

New York, May 9, 2012--Ethiopia's main, state-owned printing company has directed newspaper publishers to censor any content that may draw government prosecution under the country's anti-terrorism law or face cancellation of their printing contracts, according to local journalists and news reports.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian paper fined for coverage of Eskinder Nega trial

Feteh published Eskinder Nega's courtroom statement in its entirety. (CPJ)

New York, May 4, 2012--An Ethiopian court has cited the editor of a leading independent newspaper for contempt after his paper published the verbatim courtroom statement made by the imprisoned journalist Eskinder Nega during his trial, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ruling, which illustrates the growing severity of censorship in Ethiopia.

Attacks on the Press   |   Chile, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Abolishing Censorship

Police in Santiago seize a photographer during an anti-government demonstration. (Reuters/Carlos Vera)

Even as trade and new systems of communication turn us into global citizens, the information we need to ensure accountability often stops at national borders. New platforms like social media are valuable tools, but the battle against censorship is hardly over. By Joel Simon

Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, South Africa, Uganda

Attacks on the Press: Development Trumps Freedom

Civil unrest grips downtown Kampala. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said journalists who covered the protests were 'enemies' of the country's development. (AP/Stephen Wandera)

Many African leaders continue to offer a false choice between stability and press freedom. Taking a cue from China, a key investor and model, they stress social stability and development over openness and reform. By Mohamed Keita

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Ethiopia

Trumpeting economic growth on par with India and asserting adherence to the authoritarian model of China, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi pushed an ambitious development plan based in part on ever-hardening repression of critical journalists. The government aggressively extended application of a 2009 anti-terrorism law, designating rebel and opposition groups as terrorists and criminalizing news coverage of them. Authorities were holding seven journalists in late year on vague accusations of terrorism, including two Swedes who reported on separatist rebels in the oil-rich Ogaden region, and three Ethiopians with critical views of the ruling party. The government provided no credible evidence against the journalists, and both Zenawi and state media proclaimed the journalists' guilt before trial proceedings started. The Human Rights Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights raised numerous questions about the use of the terror law in its periodic review of Ethiopia's record. In November, government intimidation led to the closing of the independent Awramba Times and forced two of its journalists, including 2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee Dawit Kabede, to flee the country. Another journalist fled into exile in September after his name appeared in unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Police threatened to arrest the journalist after the cable showed he had spoken to U.S. diplomats about a potential press crackdown.

February 21, 2012 12:16 AM ET

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Life sentence for blogger, prison for journalists

From left: Woubshet, Reeyot, Kifle.

New York, January 26, 2012--A U.S.-based journalist convicted on politicized terrorism charges in Ethiopia was sentenced to life in prison in absentia today, while two other Ethiopian journalists received heavy prison sentences in connection with their coverage of banned opposition groups, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Judge confirms charges against Ethiopian dissident blogger

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

New York, January 25, 2012--Jailed Ethiopian dissident blogger Eskinder Nega will stand trial in March for all of the terrorism accusations initially advanced by prosecutors, a federal high court judge ruled yesterday, local sources said. If convicted on all charges, he could face the death penalty. 

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