Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa nation that houses the headquarters of the African Union is a real hell for independent and outspoken journalists.
Dozens of journalists and bloggers are currently jailed there – some in undisclosed locations – in inhuman conditions.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) continues to call for their unconditional release, and recently co-signed a letter with a group of more than 40 regional and international press freedom and civil society organisations, expressing concern to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn over the recent imprisonment of Ethiopian journalists, under the country’s far-reaching 2009 anti-terrorism law.
In April, Ethiopian authorities arrested six bloggers, Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret and Befekadu Hailu, and three independent journalists named Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, CPJ said.
In July, they were charged with inciting violence and terrorism, CPJ East Africa representative Tom Rhodes said yesterday in a statement.
A 10th blogger, Soleyana Gebremicheal, was also charged in absentia, CPJ said, adding that the bloggers were part of an independent collective called Zone 9 Zone 9, publishes critical news and commentary.
The letter calls on the Ethiopian government to release all journalists and bloggers imprisoned under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and to revise the legislation to comply with regional and international human rights standards.
Photo: Reeeyot Alemu, one of the Ethiopia’s detained journalists. Credit: Ecadforum