News / Africa

Ethiopian Journalist Alleges Detention for Inciting Egypt-Style Protests

An Ethiopian journalist says he was detained and harassed by federal police after comparing conditions in Ethiopia to those in North African states hit by people power protests.

Journalist Eskinder Nega says six heavily-armed policemen jumped from a truck on a busy central Addis Ababa street last week, grabbed him and whisked him away to federal police headquarters. He says during a two-hour detention, he was brought before a deputy police commissioner who did not identify himself, but who warned him his activities were considered seditious.

"He said, 'You've been trying to incite Egyptian and Tunisian-like protests in Ethiopia through writings you do on the Internet,” Eskinder recounted. “And the interviews you give to various news outlets. And he said, 'Nothing similar is going to happen in this country.'"

Federal police officials would not speak on the record about the incident. But when two journalists went to the office of the deputy director general of police, a senior official who would not identify himself said he was 100 percent sure his officers had not detained Eskinder.

Other senior Ethiopian officials contacted by VOA said they were not aware of the case. But they noted Eskinder Nega is considered an anti-government political activist, not a journalist.

Eskinder and his newspaper publisher wife, Serkalem Fasil, were among hundreds jailed in connection with Ethiopia's 2005 post-election violence. They spent 17 months behind bars before treason charges against them were dropped. But after being freed, their newspapers were banned and their applications for press accreditation denied.

Since then, Eskinder has continued to write and comment on political affairs. His columns are published on Internet websites based overseas, where the tone of the commentary is generally anti-government. Those websites are blocked in Ethiopia, however, along with the VOAnews.com site.

Eskinder Nega says a recent interview with VOA's Amharic language service was among issues raised by police during his recent detention.

"I did an interview with VOA and the interviewer wanted to know if the lack of a strong opposition would in any way affect the prospect of protests breaking out in Ethiopia,” Eskinder said. “My response said the same thing is true of Tunisia and Egypt. There [was] a complete absence of a strong opposition in those countries and that did not prevent the youth from organizing protests because the people wanted change."

Police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, ridiculed the suggestion that any Ethiopian would be detained for comments such as those made by Eskinder Nega.

One pointed out that a private Ethiopian newspaper has published even stronger remarks by opposition political leaders. The officer said, "This whole matter is not an issue on our side. We know what the problems are in Tunisia and Egypt, and what ours are."

Ethiopia's state-run media have provided limited coverage of the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. But random surveys suggest a general awareness of events.

Many report getting news from VOA, the only international service broadcasting over short wave radio and satellite in three of Ethiopia's main languages, Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid