News / Africa

CPJ Calls for Release of Jailed Reporters in Ethiopia

VOA's Peter Heinlein shown in this Aug. 13, 2011 file photo was recently jailed by Ethiopian authorities. (VOA Photo/G. Joselow)VOA's Peter Heinlein shown in this Aug. 13, 2011 file photo was recently jailed by Ethiopian authorities. (VOA Photo/G. Joselow)
x
VOA's Peter Heinlein shown in this Aug. 13, 2011 file photo was recently jailed by Ethiopian authorities. (VOA Photo/G. Joselow)
VOA's Peter Heinlein shown in this Aug. 13, 2011 file photo was recently jailed by Ethiopian authorities. (VOA Photo/G. Joselow)
Alex Pena
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has discussed what it calls repressive and harsh treatment of the media with high-ranking members of Ethiopia's government.  

Board members from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Africa Media Initiative met with a senior figure in the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi this week, and called for the release of journalists being held in the country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Ethiopia is holding eight journalists in prison, only neighboring Eritrea holds more jailed journalists in Africa.

The two-hour-long meeting in Addis Ababa focused on those journalists and Ethiopia's overall treatment of independent media.  Independent publishers and media members say the country's very broad 2009 anti-terrorism law has had a "chilling" effect on press freedom in the private media sector.

The law allows lengthy prison sentences for reporting that gives encouragement to groups the government labels terrorists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says authorities are holding three Ethiopian journalists and two Swedish journalists on charges of anti-government plots and terrorism.  All the journalists have denied wrongdoing.

CPJ representative in Nairobi, Tom Rhodes, says the journalists are being held on "trumped-up" terrorism charges.

"None us thought for example that these two Swedish journalists Martin [Shibbye] and Johan [Perrson] would be detained for this long, and yet they have been, which makes us think they may be there for the long haul," said Rhodes.

According to a CPJ press release, Ethiopian officials say the law is not an instrument for censorship or to attack press freedom, but rather is used to help Ethiopians enjoy their constitutional rights.

Under the law, prominent journalists who have been critical of the government and human rights in Ethiopia face extreme jail sentences.

"Eskinder Nega, who is quite an active voice in Ethiopia, and he is facing a life sentence, and that is not only a great shame for Eskinder, but for the Ethiopian people," added Rhodes.  "He sort of represents the voice struggling to push for democracy and to have these sorts of selfless voices silenced is really a tragedy."

Last month, VOA News Correspondent Peter Heinlein was arrested and held overnight in Addis Ababa on charges of "illegal reporting."

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the government expressed support for it and the African Media Initiative to host seminars and workshops in hopes of strengthening the country's independent media.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Al from: U.S.
June 15, 2012 3:26 PM
Agent Adv Trek, you called my response "spit[ing] venom at others with different views"....we call it FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!

First, I'm amused that you even recognize the term "human rights and free speech" exist!! Second, you didn't get the essence of freedom of speech - that's the reason you called it spit[ing] venom at others with different views" and labelled it as "terrorism". Because, you only understand the definition as your political party defined it - which is as TERRORISM!!! Third, again - I'm amazed that you can even spell the word "freedom" - since it's was 21 year ago since you've ever spelled it (I bet you're more familiar with words - like oppression, killing, torture, genocide, etc.)

But, if you stopped to think, I want to remind you that this is ALL the reason why the Ethiopian people died fought for and won over 21 years ago ...

Speaking of Facts, you (Agent Adv Trek) are one of the few (0.78%) Ethiopians who have internet access (for the purpose of spreading your political party propaganda). We are the 99.22% Ethiopians, HRW, CPJ, Amnesty International, U.S. State Dept Human Rights Report - who says you're repressive and terrorist regime. THAT'S THE FACT!! what "fact" do you have on your side that you can proof with independent party??!!

by: Adv Trek from: Terra firma
June 14, 2012 6:01 AM
Always amusing how those who claim to champion human rights and free speech are the very people who spit venom at others with different views.

You are all entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Shalom!

by: Al from: U.S
June 13, 2012 2:55 PM
Unless this whole thing is a mockery on Ethiopian people, there's one, and ONLY one, way to stop all this tragedy. And , CPJ knows this perfectly well.....it's to STOP THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FROM SUSTAINING THE LIFE BLOOD OF THE ETHIOPIAN REGIME by cutting off the aid money.

CPJ can't stop the Ethiopian regime from the continuation of the current policy (repression, torture, human rights violation, etc). But, they can stop and/or expose the current U.S. president and policy-makers from writing a blank check to Ethiopian governement - in the name of aid.

@Adv Trek, how much are you getting paid to sale your country and conscience? ... Eskinder Nega is "...not employed by any professional news media" Really?! what professional news media exist in Ethiopia since the rule of EHS or modern Ethiopian history?!?! .... Mengistu overthrew EHS and controlled ETV and EthRadio, Meles overthrew Mengistu and controlled ETV and EthRadio ... @Adv Trek, I think you're the most ignorant agent Meles ever hired!!!

by: Dechisa
June 12, 2012 8:54 PM
Q.How is it possible One ignorant prime minister stays in office for 20 years?
A.Because there is no voting or if there is the prime minister stole people's voice.Then to hide the truth, he kills,jails,tortures journalists who are the voice of the voiceless.

by: EU, AU, NATO, UN,... from: Sweden
June 12, 2012 5:16 PM
Those whose interests are to lead by Weapons are Terrorists.
Those who are afraid of journalists are hiding very sensitive information that they don't want the World to know.
Those who stayed more than Eight Years in Office, as a Prime Minister or as a President are very dangerous and they must vacate their place immediately, before they caused enormous damages.

Journalists are the voices of the people. They deserve RESPECT.

by: Adv Trek from: EU & AU
June 12, 2012 2:31 PM
The facts, which will hypocritically be deleted:

The two Swedish reporters, admittedly, were caught with armed Somali gunmen they paid to cross into Ethiopian border illegally, which resulted in a gun battle with many deaths.

VOA correspondent Peter Heinlein was temporarily detained after attempting to illegally use a borrowed diplomatic vehicle to bypass a roadblock.

Eskinder Nega is in jail, again, for continually posting inflammatory articles peppered with ethnic undertones, in the hopes of mobilizing public unrest (he is a profit based web blogger, not employed by any professional news media).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs