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Ethiopia Expels The Economist Correspondent

FILE - A copy of The Economist magazine is pictured at a news stand in central London, Britain, Aug. 12, 2015.
FILE - A copy of The Economist magazine is pictured at a news stand in central London, Britain, Aug. 12, 2015.

Ethiopia has expelled The Economist's correspondent from the East African country, accusing him of taking a "misguided approach" to journalism, the weekly magazine said Monday.

The British magazine defended the work of its correspondent as "professional, unbiased and often courageous" while confirming an Ethiopian government statement on Friday ordering his expulsion.

"On May 13th Ethiopia’s government withdrew the press accreditation of Tom Gardner, The Economist’s correspondent in Addis Ababa," the magazine said in a statement. The correspondent was given 48 hours to leave the country.

"The stated reason for Mr Gardner’s expulsion was that he had a 'mistaken approach' to reporting, and that he had in some unspecified way failed to live up to the professional ethics expected of a journalist," The Economist said.

On Friday, Ethiopia's media authority published, on Twitter, a letter addressed to Gardner announcing the withdrawal of his press accreditation and inviting the magazine to nominate a new correspondent to the country.

In May 2021, the Ethiopian authorities expelled The Times correspondent Simon Marks.

The Economist statement said that Gardner had visited Tigray, a northern region that has been plagued by armed conflict between the federal government and rebels since 2020.

"His reporting from Ethiopia, including on the conflict in the northern region of Tigray, has been professional, unbiased and often courageous," the magazine said.

Earlier this month, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Ethiopia to free two journalists that it said had been charged with "outrages against the constitution" and faced a possible death sentence.

Days before that, the head of Ethiopia's Human Rights Commission, Daniel Bekele, issued a statement on World Press Freedom Day, voicing concern after the arrest by Ethiopian police of another journalist, Gobeze Sisay, a critic of the government.