Eritrea / Africa

  
Solomon Abera was once a presenter for state television ERI-TV. (Solomon Abera)

Solomon Abera, who voiced end of Eritrean free press, dies

The name Solomon Abera will forever be etched in the collective memory of Eritrea’s press corps. On September 18, 2001, as the world focused its attention on the terrorist attacks on the United States, the government of Eritrea borrowed Abera’s voice to sound the death knell, on state-controlled airwaves, of the Red Sea nation’s independent…

Read More ›

Swedish journalist Elsa Persson (Journalisternas Solidariska Fängelseaktion)

Swedish support for jailed colleagues in Ethiopia, Eritrea

If you pass by Kronoberg Prison in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, you will see journalists chained to its gates. They have committed no crime. For over a week, journalists have taken turns locking themselves up in front of the prison to raise awareness of the imprisonment of three colleagues held in the Horn of Africa.

Read More ›

On September 18, 2001, President Isaias Afewerki banned all independent press in Eritrea. (AP)

Eritrea: Let’s lift the shroud of 10 years of misery

Since Zaid Tewelde’s husband, an Eritrean freedom fighter turned playwright and journalist, was arrested in September 2001, she has spent each passing day coping with the burning questions of her two young sons, age 9 and 10, “Where is my dad? When are we going to see him?” And she is not alone. Like Zaid, the…

Read More ›

Ten years after the author reported the government's shutdown of the private press, Eritrea continues to imprison journalists swept up in the crackdown. Among them is Dawit Isaac, a Swedish-Eritrean national whose case has drawn wide attention. (Petra Jankov Picha)

When Eritrea shut down the independent press

It was September 18, 2001. As usual, I had to do my shift as a news reader on Eritrea’s national government-controlled radio station Dimtsi Hafash. It was just minutes before 6:30 a.m. I was almost ready with all of the Tigrinya news material given to me for broadcasting and was waiting for the on-air sign…

Read More ›

From left, European Parliament members Judith Sargentini, Charles Tannock, Ana Gomes, and Olle Schmidt call for the release of Eritrean political prisoners. (European Parliament)

EU resolution urges Eritrea to free long-jailed journalists

Eritrea was on the hot seat Thursday in Strasbourg and Brussels. Ten years after a massive crackdown on dissent in Asmara that included the arrests of 11 independent journalists, European institutions have signalled that they are weary of President Isaias Afeworki’s repression. 

Read More ›

Ten years after the author reported the government's shutdown of the private press, Eritrea continues to imprison journalists swept up in the crackdown. Among them is Dawit Isaac, a Swedish-Eritrean national whose case has drawn wide attention. (Petra Jankov Picha)

Habeas corpus writ seeks Dawit Isaac, jailed for 3,600 days

Journalist Dawit Isaac, co-founder of Eritrea’s now-defunct leading newspaper Setit, has spent nearly 10 years in one of the reclusive Red Sea nation’s secret prisons with no charges ever placed against him. Isaac’s location and health status are currently unknown, as are those of at least 16 other journalists who CPJ believes are also being…

Read More ›

Berhane (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)

CPJ’s exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into…

Read More ›

A man sets up a satellite dish in Zimbabwe, where state news is severely restricted on the ongoing protests in the Middle East, but where CNN is still accessible. (AP)

Sub-Saharan Africa censors Mideast protests

As news of Middle Eastern and North African protests swirl around the globe, satellite television and the Internet prove vital sources of information for Africans as governments fearful of an informed citizenry and a free press such as in Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, and Zimbabwe impose total news blackouts on the developments.

Read More ›

Senior Eritrean Advisor Yemani Gebreab told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the government had decided to “move forward,” leaving imprisoned journalists in the eternal oblivion of indefinite detention.

Eritrean official says jailed journalists were security threat

Since a week after September 11, 2001, when the government of Eritrea threw into secret prisons journalists from its once-vibrant private press, the only certainty it has offered about the fate of the prisoners has been ambiguity. Over the years, officials have offered various explanations for the arrests—from nebulous anti-state conspiracies involving foreign intelligence to press law violations. They have…

Read More ›

Tedros Menghistu's press card from Eritrea. He lives in Houston now.

For Eritrean expatriate press, intimidation in exile

For the better part of the last 20 years, Tedros Menghistu has been a refugee, forced to flee his Red Sea homeland of Eritrea not once, but twice—first as a young man displaced by war in the early 1990s, and then as a professional journalist escaping political censorship and military conscription a decade later. Menghistu is also…

Read More ›