Ethiopia

2013


Reports   |   Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Second worst year on record for jailed journalists

For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser

Turkish journalists protest for media rights in Istanbul on November 5, 2013. Demonstrators proceeded at a rate of one step per minute to highlight the slow process of justice in Turkey. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
December 18, 2013 12:01 AM ET

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Impact   |   Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Sri Lanka

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, November 2013

Photo credit, Barbara Nitke (CPJ)

Journalists honored at CPJ's annual award ceremony

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was among four journalists who received CPJ's 2013 International Press Freedom Award on November 26. Youssef has used humor to report on and criticize government failures to improve the economy and public services, and its efforts to suppress opinion. In November, Youssef's show was suspended.

"Freedom of expression is not a privilege; it is a universal right," Youssef told the crowd gathered at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. "Now, you don't have to be a journalist or a reporter. You can just be an ordinary citizen with a camera and a YouTube channel. This is how we started. I don't know how this will end. ... But at least this is how we started."

CPJ also awarded Janet Hinostroza, a leading TV reporter in Ecuador, who has continued to work despite threats to her and her family; Nedim Şener, who faces up to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges because of his reporting; and Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who was not present at the ceremony because he is serving a 12-year prison sentence for "conducting propaganda" against the state.

Thanks to Dan Doctoroff, chief executive officer and president of Bloomberg, who chaired the ceremony, the dinner raised a record $1.65 million for CPJ's worldwide press freedom advocacy. Many of the distinguished guests at the event also pledged support during a special appeal at the end of the night. Those funds were matched by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, contributing another $200,000. 

Norman Pearlstine, executive vice president and chief content officer of Time Inc., presented Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for his lifetime commitment to press freedom.

December 5, 2013 12:40 PM ET

Case   |   Ethiopia

Photojournalist briefly detained in Ethiopia

Police in Ethiopia's western region of Gambella on November 1, 2013, detained Robin Hammond, a freelance photojournalist with dual U.K. and New Zealand citizenship, while he was on assignment for U.S. magazine National Geographic, according to news reports and local journalists.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

African media leaders must address Ethiopia's repression

New York, November 5, 2013--As media leaders and officials of regional institutions gather in Addis Ababa this week for the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF), the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the participants to ensure that press freedom is squarely on the agenda.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia arrests 2 journalists from independent paper

Getachew Worku is being held without charge. (Ethio-Mihdar)

New York, November 5, 2013--Ethiopian police have arrested without charge two editors of the leading independent Amharic weekly Ethio-Mihdar, according to local journalists.

Police in the town of Legetafo, northeast of the capital Addis Ababa, on Monday arrested Getachew Worku in connection a story published in October alleging corruption in the town administration, according to Muluken Tesfaw, a reporter with the paper, who spoke to Getachew shortly after his arrest. Getachew has not been charged, he said.

Impact   |   Belgium, Ethiopia, Morocco, Somalia, USA, Uruguay

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, October 2013

CPJ launches US report

Following CPJ's release of its report on the state of press freedom in the United States, the organization is pursuing high-level meetings with the White House. CPJ had drafted six recommendations that were shared with President Obama, including calling for a guarantee that journalists would not be at legal risk or prosecuted for receiving confidential and/or classified information.

CPJ continues to work toward securing a meeting with the Obama administration in order to discuss the report's findings.

"Given our 32-year history fighting for press freedom around the world, we believe CPJ can make an important contribution to the press freedom concerns and debate in the United States," CPJ Chairman Sandy Rowe wrote in a blog published the day after the report.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Africa's journalists honor jailed editor Woubshet Taye

Woubshet Taye's wife Berhane Tesfaye and their son accepted an award on behalf of the imprisoned journalist. (CPJ/Sue Valentine)

Journalists and media owners across Africa gave Ethiopian journalist Woubshet Taye a standing ovation in Cape Town on Saturday night at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2013, but he wasn't there to see it. Instead his wife and son accepted the Free Press Award on his behalf.

Part of the citation for the award reads: "Ethiopia is a jewel in the African crown for its beauty, its people, its history and, most recently, for its astonishing growth rates. It is the judges' view that journalists like Woubshet Taye and his colleagues Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega should be out of prison and working to build the prosperity and the freedom of a new Ethiopia. The judges make this award in recognition of Mr. Taye's work and in solidarity with his condition."

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Sakharov and the fight for a free press in Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu. (Lennart Kjörling and IWMF)

In 1968, Andrei Sakharov braved censorship and personal risk in the Soviet Union to give humanity an honest and timeless declaration of conscience. That same year, Ethiopia's most prominent dissenter, Eskinder Nega, was born. In January 1981, a year into Sakharov's exile in the closed city of Gorky, Reeyot Alemu, another fierce, Ethiopian free thinker, was born.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Prison places restrictions on jailed journalist Reeyot Alemu

Reeyot Alemu (IWMF)

Nairobi, September 16, 2013--The decision by authorities at Kality Prison to impose visitor restrictions on imprisoned journalist Reeyot Alemu constitutes harassment and runs counter to the Ethiopian constitution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

"We call upon the Ethiopian authorities to lift these latest restrictions and allow Reeyot Alemu to receive all visitors," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "She is a journalist, not a criminal, and should not be behind bars."

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Two Ethiopian journalists held for a week without charge

Darsema Sori (left) and Khalid Mohammed have been detained without charge. (Bilal Communication)

Nairobi, August 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the arrest and week-long detention without charge of two journalists working for Radio Bilal, a station that has provided extensive coverage of ongoing anti-government protests staged by Ethiopian Muslims.

Reports   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda

Journalists in exile 2013

Somalis, Syrians flee violence; Iran crackdown deepens

Fifty-five journalists fled their homes in the past year with help from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most common reason to go into exile was the threat of violence, such as in Somalia and Syria, two of the most deadly countries in the world for the profession. Others fled the threat of prison, especially in Iran, where the government deepened its crackdown ahead of elections. A CPJ special report by Nicole Schilit

Syrians take shelter at a refugee camp near the border with Turkey. (Reuters/Muhammad Najdet Qadour/Shaam News Network)

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Kenya

Exiled journalists in risky places need helping hand

The dangerous neighborhood of Eastleigh is home to some exiled journalists. (AP)

It was well past mid-day in Eastleigh, a shanty district on the east side of Nairobi, Kenya. The billows of dust rising from the rock-scarred road showed a government that had long lost interest in the neighborhood. A young man, struggling with horribly dry conditions, was fighting with his patrons. "Welahi, today's khat is so small. I need more," a Somali customer was complaining. "Pole, hakuna unvua" ("Sorry, no rain"). "Khat is getting expensive in these days," the young man tried to convince him in Kiswahili and English. Few knew that the young peddler was once a journalist in Ethiopia. They cared neither about his profession nor the reasons he had fled his home country. For them, he was just a dealer of khat, the mildly addictive green leaf that is chewed in East Africa. It was as simple as that. 

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia holds reporter covering evictions in dam region

New York, May 30, 2012--Ethiopian authorities have detained since Friday a reporter who sought to interview people evicted from their homes in a region where the government is building a contentious hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, according to a news report and the reporter's editor. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the case highlights authorities' disregard for the rule of law and its systematic efforts to suppress news critical of government officials.

May 30, 2013 6:07 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ethiopia, USA

At AU summit, Kerry should speak out for a free press

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.

Letters   |   Ethiopia, Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia

CPJ calls on African Union to uphold press freedom

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.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

In Eskinder case, politicized verdict undermines Ethiopia

New York, May 2, 2013---In response to today's ruling by Ethiopia's Supreme Court to uphold an 18-year prison sentence imposed on award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega and reject his appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement: 

"This ruling trivializes the serious crime of terrorism, upholds a politically motivated travesty of justice, and lessens Ethiopia's international standing," CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said. "As a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ethiopia should comply with its obligations under international law and its own constitution and release Eskinder unconditionally. The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens."

May 2, 2013 11:31 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia transfers editor Woubshet Taye to remote prison

(Awramba Times)

New York, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists protests Ethiopian authorities' transfer of independent newspaper editor Woubshet Taye to a remote prison several hours away from his family's home. Woubshet has been imprisoned since June 2011 on vague terrorism charges that CPJ has determined to be unsubstantiated.

April 22, 2013 1:04 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia threatens journalist with solitary confinement

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.

April 10, 2013 11:45 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

UN panel: Eskinder Nega jailing violates international law

Eskinder Nega (Eskinder family)

Authorities in Ethiopia describe Eskinder Nega, a prominent columnist and government critic jailed since September 2011 on vague terrorism charges, as a dangerous individual bent on violent revolution. However, in an opinion handed down in 2012--publicized only this week by Washington, D.C.-based legal advocacy group Freedom Now--a United Nations panel of five independent experts ruled that Eskinder's imprisonment came "as a result of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression."

April 5, 2013 2:35 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam

Attacks on the Press in 2012: CPJ Risk List Video



CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press in 2012: Ethiopia

The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August in a Belgian hospital brought an end to a 21-year rule characterized by repression of dissent and iron-fisted control of the independent press. His fatal illness was shrouded in secrecy. After Meles disappeared from public view in June, the government played down rumors of his illness and suppressed in-depth domestic reporting. The government also faced rare demonstrations by members of the Muslim community, who protested what they called government interference in their affairs. Security forces violently dispersed the gatherings, cracking down on journalists who reported on them, and forcing three Muslim-oriented newspapers to close. The government drew widespread international condemnation for the convictions of nine Ethiopian journalists on vague and politicized terrorism charges. The journalists, five of them exiles tried in absentia, were handed sentences ranging from eight years to life imprisonment. The government finally freed two Swedish journalists who were imprisoned for 14 months for reporting on separatist Ogaden rebels. Six journalists remained behind bars in late year, including award-winning writer Eskinder Nega.

February 14, 2013 12:04 AM ET

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Charges renewed against Ethiopian journalist Temesghen

A court revived criminal charges against Temesghen Desalegn today. (CPJ)

Nairobi, February 8, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the revival of criminal charges against Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn today in what appears to be a politicized court hearing designed to censor one of the few critical voices left in the country.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist arrested for covering Muslim protests

Authorities have cracked down on reporters and news outlets that covered last year's demonstrations by Muslims, seen here. (AFP/Jenny Vaughan)

Nairobi, February 1, 2013--Ethiopian security forces have detained for two weeks without charge the editor of a newsmagazine and accused him of incitement to terrorism, according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release Solomon Kebede immediately and halt their harassment of journalists affiliated with the weekly Ye Muslimoch Guday.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Somalia

Journalist Assistance helps record number in 2012

An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:

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