Mesfin Negash/CPJ Guest Blogger

Mesfin Negash was the managing editor of leading weekly Addis Neger until 2009, when the staff ceased publication and fled Ethiopia under threat of arrest after the paper was accused of anti-state coverage. He now edits Addis Neger Online from exile. In November 2011, Mesfin and other Ethiopian journalists were charged with supporting a terrorist group for covering an opposition movement. Mesfin was charged in absentia.

The government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, foreground, is holding seven journalists, most on anti-state charges. (Reuters)

Intimidation or imprisonment by ‘democratic instruments’

Three years ago, I met Minister Bereket Simon at his office at the center of Addis Ababa. I was with my colleague Abiye Teklemariam — who was recently charged with terrorism, treason and espionage along with five other journalists, including myself.

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