Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Dawit Kebede joins Ethiopia's exiled journalists

Kebede, left, is presented with a 2010 CPJ award by Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson. (Afrikanspot)

New York, November 21, 2011--Dawit Kebede, managing editor of Awramba Times, one of Ethiopia's two remaining independent Amharic-language newspapers offering critical analysis of local politics, announced today that he was forced to leave the country after he received a tip last week about alleged government plans to re-imprison him. Kebede also said that the paper was unlikely to continue publishing.

Kebede, whom CPJ honored a year ago for perseverance in pursuing independent journalism in Ethiopia despite ongoing government intimidation, told CPJ from Washington, D.C., that official sources warned him on Thursday of preparations by the Ministry of Justice and Government Communication Affairs to revoke the conditional pardon that authorities offered in 2007 to him and other imprisoned journalists rounded up in a brutal November 2005 crackdown.

November 21, 2011 2:16 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia charges six journalists with terrorism

From left: Nega, Gellaw, Negash, Teklemariam, Yenealem, and Belew. (CPJ)

New York, November 11, 2011--A judge in Ethiopia's federal high court charged six journalists with terrorism on Thursday under the country's antiterrorism law, bringing the number of journalists charged under the statute since June to 10, CPJ research found. 

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia steps up terrorism allegations against journalists

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi speaks to Parliament Thursday. (CPJ)

New York, October 24, 2011--Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last week accused journalists in the country of being "messengers" with "terrorist" groups, while a state newspaper accused the chief editor of an independent publication of having terrorist ties and called on security forces to "take action" against him. The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it condemns this campaign of intimidation against the private press.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Zenawi calls jailed Swedish journalists terror accomplices

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Reuters)

New York, October 11, 2011--Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's public accusations on Monday against two imprisoned Swedish journalists compromise the presumption of their innocence and predetermine the outcome of their case, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalists were arrested in Ethiopia in July and charged with terrorism for associating with armed separatists.

In July, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, contributors to the Sweden-based photo agency Kontinent, were arrested after they crossed with rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) into Ogaden, an oil-rich province where the media is barred independent access. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government formally designated the ONLF a terrorist group under an anti-terrorism law. Under this 2009 law, journalists risk up to 20 years in prison if the government deems their reporting favorable to groups designated as terrorists. Both journalists were charged without their lawyers present, CPJ research shows.

October 11, 2011 5:24 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Two Ethiopian journalists detained on terrorism charges

New York, September 16, 2011--Authorities in Ethiopia arrested two independent journalists this week on accusations of involvement in a terrorism plot, bringing the total number of journalists imprisoned since June under the country's far-reaching antiterrorism legislation to six, CPJ research shows.

September 16, 2011 5:04 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist ID'd in WikiLeaks cable flees country

Addis Neger's newsroom in 2009, before the editors fled and the paper folded. (Addis Neger)

New York, September 14, 2011--U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed last month by WikiLeaks cited an Ethiopian journalist by name and referred to his unnamed government source, forcing the journalist to flee the country after police interrogated him over the source's identity, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. It is the first instance CPJ has confirmed in which a citation in one of the cables has caused direct repercussions for a journalist.

September 14, 2011 5:01 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, terrorism charges against five journalists

From left, Reeyot, Woubshet, Persson, and Schibbye. (Feteh, Awramba Times, Kontinent)

New York, September 7, 2011--Ethiopia filed terrorism charges on Tuesday against four independent journalists detained in the country since June and July, along with the editor of a U.S.-based news forum critical of the Addis Ababa government, according to local sources and news reports.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Sweden

Ethiopia detains two Swedish journalists

Persson (Kontinent)

New York, July 5, 2011--Two Swedish journalists reporting on the activities of armed separatists operating in an oil-rich province of eastern Ethiopia have been detained without charge since Thursday in the Horn of Africa nation, according to news reports and government officials.

Ethiopian security forces arrested photojournalist Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye, contributors to the Sweden-based agency Kontinent, along the border with neighboring Somalia, government spokesman Bereket Simon told CPJ.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia accuses two jailed journalists of terrorism plot

Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye (CPJ/Awramba Times)

New York, June 29, 2011--The Ethiopian government today publicly today accused an editor and a columnist of involvement in a terrorism plot, according to news reports and local journalists. Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of the leading Awramba Times newspaper and Reeyot Alemu, columnist for the weekly Feteh, have been held incommunicado under Ethiopia's far-reaching anti-terrorism law since last week. 

June 29, 2011 4:28 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist likely held under anti-terrorism law

New York, June 23, 2011--Ethiopian authorities have been holding a newspaper columnist incommunicado since Tuesday, local journalists told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reeyot Alemu, a regular contributor to the independent weekly Feteh, was expected to spend the next four weeks in preventive detention under what appears to be Ethiopia's sweeping anti-terrorism law.  

Alemu, at left, is the second journalist picked up and held without charge in less than a week and taken into custody at the federal investigation center at Maekelawi Prison in the capital, Addis Ababa. Deputy Editor Woubshet Taye of the weekly Awramba Times has been held since Sunday, according to CPJ research.
June 24, 2011 4:58 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist illegally detained since Sunday

(Awramba Times)

New York, June 21, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Ethiopian authorities today to immediately release journalist Woubshet Taye, at left, who has been held since Sunday.

Police picked up Taye, deputy editor of the leading independent weekly Awramba Times, at his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, at 3 p.m. and confiscated several documents, cameras, CDs, and selected copies of Awramba Times, local journalists told CPJ. The newspaper covers politics in-depth.

June 21, 2011 5:44 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia censors UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event

Pro-government journalists and officials who replaced independent journalists sit on a WPFD panel in Addis Ababa on Tuesday. (Awramba Times)

New York, May 5, 2011--Officials in Ethiopia hijacked a local UNESCO-sponsored World Press Freedom Day event, installing government-backed journalists as speakers and nixing independent journalists slated to speak. There was no discussion, as originally planned, of this year's global theme on new media and the Internet at the Tuesday forum, according to local sources and news reports.

May 5, 2011 4:36 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia should allow German broadcasts

New York, April 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on authorities in Ethiopia to ensure that broadcasts of the German state-funded station Deutsche Welle, which had been jammed, be allowed to air freely. Local journalists confirmed a report by the Bonn-based international broadcaster that its programs were inaudible in Ethiopia last week until Friday.

April 11, 2011 5:24 PM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Africa Analysis

Across Continent, Governments Criminalize
Investigative Reporting

Ivory Coast's President and 2010 presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo talks to the press. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

By Mohamed Keita

Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Editor Dawit Kebede honored with International Press Freedom Award.
• Authorities jail critical journalists, jam VOA Amharic broadcasts.

Key Statistic
7: Hours that two newspaper editors were interrogated as Zenawi gave speech on freedom of choice.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, imprisoned journalists, jammed foreign broadcasters, and blocked websites as it swept general elections in May. The government-controlled National Electoral Board declared the EPRDF-led coalition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in power since 1991, the winner in all but two of 547 contested parliamentary seats, prompting opposition allegations of voter intimidation and ballot-rigging, as well as U.S. and European Union criticism. Zenawi won another five-year term as his government dismissed criticism of the vote as a smear campaign. Opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa was kept in prison until October.

February 15, 2011 12:35 AM ET
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