The Ethiopian Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ordered the arrests of editor Worku and producer Mohammed of the government-controlled national public broadcaster on charges of smuggling station material to an unidentified third party, local journalists told CPJ.
A week after their arrests, Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon told CPJ the journalists had been “caught red-handed” but would not provide any details. Prosecutors amended charges to include corruption and copyright violations while the journalists were in pretrial detention in Kality Prison in late year.
Local journalists said Worku was accused of trying to copy footage of the government’s brutal repression of the May 2005 post-election protests, and that Mohammed was lending technical assistance.
A few months before his arrest, Mohammed, a 14-year veteran of the station, was demoted from senior editor to an entertainment producer’s job as part of civil service changes that put government loyalists in ranking positions, according to local journalists.