News / Africa

Committee to Protect Journalists Demands Release of Ethiopian Reporters

Kim Lewis
The press freedom organization, Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has demanded the release of an Ethiopian journalist who has been detained by Ethiopian authorities for almost three weeks.
The call comes as the CPJ says Muslim journalists have been targeted in recent months by the government for what they believe is part of an attempt to suppress coverage of ongoing protests in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The detained journalist, Yusuf Getachew, is editor of a Muslim affairs magazine.  Local journalists say he was taken from his home on July 20 to the Maekelawi Federal Detention Center.  The next day he was charged with treason.  Two other journalists for the Muslim press have since gone into hiding.
Tom Rhodes, who is based in Nairobi, is the east Africa consultant for the Committee to Protect Journalists. He talked about some of the conditions journalists are working under now in Ethiopia.
“One of the problems is that getting information in Ethiopia is getting harder and harder because a lot of our sources are scared to speak out.  This is really indicative of the conditions of press freedom in Ethiopia today,” said Rhodes.
He said it is not clear what the charges are for the arrest of Getachew.
“One thing I should throw in there is that Ethiopia has a very good record of religious tolerance.  Muslims and Christians seem to work quite well together, so it is surprising there seems to be this targeting of the Muslim press,” said Rhodes.
He said he thinks the police crackdown is largely attributed to the protests that started last January.
“Many Muslims felt that the government was interfering too much with the appointments of the Islamic Council and other issues,” said  Rhodes.

Over time, the protests gained momentum, and magazines geared towards the Muslim community were covering the protests, and to some extent, showed support for them.
Rhodes said the Ethiopian press in the diaspora, particularly in Washington, DC, has been very vocal and supportive of the Muslim press, whether they are Christians or Muslims speaking out.
“However the journalists within the country are quite silent about it,” said Rhodes.
He said he has spoken with journalists both inside and outside of the country, and they all have said they have not seen limitations to press freedom this severe within the country.
“What we’re facing now is probably worse than what happened in the past election crackdown in 2005,” said Rhodes.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has made attempts to reach the Ethiopian government for comment regarding the targeted crackdown on press freedom for the Muslim community; however, up to this point, the government has not responded.
“I should hasten to point out that CPJ had quite a fruitful meeting about a month and a half ago when we visited Addis.  It is not as if we’re cut off from communication,” said Rhodes.

Listen to interview with Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists
Listen to interview with Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalistsi
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: solomon Dagnachew from: Nairobi
August 16, 2012 2:55 PM
The Architect Revolutionary Democracy in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, has taken Human Rights as a hurdle of Implementation the revolutionary democracy in the country. The Architect and his stooges has been bent on destroying any person who cross the road to Revolutionary Democracy. Fortunately the Architect is gone with no sign of return and things might not be the same again as it was under the architect's watch if the international community intervened for the good of the people of Ethiopia.At present scored number of prominent opposition political party leaders, journalist and political and human rights activist have been languishing in prison on tiny pretext of Terrorism. Hundreds of thousands of civilian have been incarcerated in prison without any legal proceedings or what so ever. The rule of Law has no room in Revolutionary Democracy ruling elites.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs