Dear Mr. Secretary: We are writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Ethiopia, where you will attend this year’s African Union Summit. A vibrant press and civil society is fundamental to hold governments accountable and to ensure long-term development and stability. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, we ask that you include the issue of press freedom in your discussion of the challenges that Africa will face in the next half-century.
Dear Chairperson Zuma: We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.
Dear Minister Birhan Hailu: We are writing to bring to your attention the case of Ethiopian journalist and teacher Reeyot Alemu, whose health has deteriorated since her imprisonment in June 2011 on terrorism charges and who is now being threatened with solitary confinement. The Ethiopian Ministry of Justice has publicly subscribed to a vision in which “human and democratic rights are respected,” yet Reeyot’s full human rights are being denied to her in Kality Prison.
In a ruling that lasted five minutes, a new judge appointed to the Ethiopian Court of Cassation in the capital, Addis Ababa, rejected on January 8, 2012, an appeal filed on behalf of award-winning journalist Reeyot Alemu, according to local journalists.
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.
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…
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.
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
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.