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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid