Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Amhara Special Forces stand guard in the town of Lalibela in Ethiopia's Amhara region, January 27, 2022. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Ethiopia cracks down on journalists and media workers

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On May 20, Indian journalist Subhash Kumar Mahto was shot dead in Bihar state. Mahto was a reporter with a local cable station City News, and frequently used Public App, a hyperlocal smartphone-based video application, to post his reports. Saurabh Kumar, general secretary of Begusarai District Journalists Association, told CPJ that the attack could be related to Mahto’s reporting on the illegal alcohol mafia in the region. Last year, two other journalists, Avinash Jha and Manish Kumar Singh, were killed in two separate incidents in Bihar.

Ethiopia has arrested at least 131 journalists and media workers since May 19 in Amhara state and the capital Addis Ababa as part of a broader crackdown that the state government calls a “law enforcement operation.”

In Russia-Ukraine war press freedom news:

  • Photojournalist and blogger Ihor Hudenko, who lost contact with his friends and family while in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on February 26, died that day
  • Belarusian journalist Dzmitry Luksha was detained for two months and faces charges likely related to his reporting on Belarus’ involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war
  • Two exiled Russian journalists charged for disseminating ‘fake’ news on war in Ukraine

Check out CPJ’s Russia-Ukraine Watch, updated weekly on Thursdays here, and sign up to receive a daily digest of our coverage of the war and press freedom here.

Global press freedom updates 

  • CPJ joined a coalition of 34 rights groups to demand independent investigation into the killing of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank
  • Taliban intelligence agents detain, pressure Afghan journalist Jebran Lawrand to stop critical reporting, while a new Taliban order forces female newscasters to cover their faces
  • Hong Kong journalist Eric Wu Ka-Fai sentenced to 1 month in prison for disorderly behavior
  • Nigerian journalist detained after republishing article about Ogun state governor
  • Two Somali journalists sentenced to 16 months in jail for false news
  • Three Congolese radio journalists stripped, beaten by intelligence agents
  • Georgian pro-opposition journalist Nika Gvaramia sentenced to 3.5 years in prison
  • Pakistan police open multiple criminal investigations into four journalists
  • CPJ joins call for Cambodia government to revoke plans to establish an internet gateway  that could lead to self-censorship
  • Bosnian columnist Srđan Puhalo receives death threats
  • Tajikistan outlet threatened with closure; 4 journalists attacked during unrest coverage
  • Brazilian journalist says city councilor attacked him with rocks in Minas Gerais state
  • CPJ is concerned by the seemingly arbitrary nature around the recent seizure of Reuters reporter Idrees Ali’s phone by U.S. Defense Department officials


A screenshot of CPJ board member Jon Williams during the U.N. Security Council Arria-formula meeting on the protection of journalists on May 24, 2022. (UN Web TV)

“Journalism is the lifeblood of democracy. Without it, democracy becomes something else. Press freedom is your freedom,” CPJ board member Jon Williams told the United Nations Security council on Wednesday, during a meeting on the protection of journalists convened by the Irish mission to the UN. Williams, managing director of news and current affairs of RTÉ, Ireland’s national television and radio broadcaster, detailed the mounting threats journalists face as a result of their critical and often life-saving reporting. Highlighting journalists’ role in providing crucial information amidst a world steeped in crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, he powerfully reminded member states and the public that “Press freedom is your freedom.” Williams briefed the Council alongside Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Abderrahim Foukara, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief for the Americas; and Joshua Melvin, a Washington-based correspondent for AFP.  Watch the full briefing here

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