Home | News    Sunday 10 February 2013

CPJ: Ethiopia’s court hearing on journalist “politicised”

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

February 9, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - An international press freedom watchdog has denounced an Ethiopian court hearing after a judge on Friday renewed charges against a journalist who is facing multiple charges in connection to articles he published prior to the death of former prime minister Meles Zenawi last year.

Temesghen Desalegn, former chief editor of Feteh was arrested on 1 August, a few days after Ethiopian authorities closed the weekly newspaper and blocked the distribution of some 30,000 printed copies that had details on the health of the deceased premier.

Temesghen now faces charges on three counts: spreading false reports, defaming the government, and “outrages against the constitution”.

The charges against Temesghen were suspended without explanation in August, but prosecutors refiled on 12 December.

A judge in the federal high court in the capital Addis Ababa revived the three charges against Temesghen and one against the general manager of the paper’s publishing company, Mastewal.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) described Friday’s events as a “politicised court hearing designed to censor one of the few critical voices left in the country”.

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said the charges had been renewed based on further incriminating evidence.

He gave no other details but CPJ’s East Africa consultant, Tom Rhodes, said: “Authorities have not provided any new evidence to support the revival of these charges”.

In a statement Rhodes added: “This court case appears to be a political effort to stifle one of the few independent voices left in the country and ensure he cannot continue in the profession. All charges placed against Temesghen and his publisher must be dropped immediately.”

Ethiopia, a close ally of the United States, has been repeatedly criticised by international human rights groups for introducing press and anti-terrorism legislation to punish critical journalists and opposition politicians on the pretext of the broadly defined laws.

The Ethiopian government, however, denies allegations it is targeting critical journalists because of their reporting or affiliations with political groups.

With seven journalists behind bars, Ethiopia is the second-leading jailer of journalists in Africa after neighbouring Eritrea, which has jailed at least 30 journalists, according to CPJ.

Some 79 Ethiopian journalists, CPJ says, have fled the country since 2001.

According to the 2013 World Press Freedom Index report produced by Reporters Without Borders, Ethiopia dropped to 137th position in 2012 down from 127th the previous year.

A local journalist, who refused to be named, told Sudan Tribune that the growing crackdown against the media and the tightened laws on press has created a climate of fear among the country’s press.

“A couple of my friends have fled into exile in fear of reprisal as a result of writing critical articles,” the journalist said.

He added: “After the death of the prime minister we hoped the new post-Meles Zenawi administration would relatively improve the free press, however, this is not happening and the freedom of speech is rather on the verge of fading”.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 10 February 2013 05:13, by master

    it’s better than south sudan
    in south if you write agianst gov you ccould kill without court order as Abraham case

    repondre message

  • 10 February 2013 17:40, by Fetehyelem

    Come on Woyane slave,How do you compare anchient & never colonized Ethiopia with very recently delivered Sudan?Shame on you,mindless Woyanes.Everytime you people need to compare the uncomparable.For that matter despite South Soudan is newly independant nation it is suffient enough to feed its own people unlike Woyane which is claiming bogus 11% growth with out any shame & nothing to feed its hungr

    repondre message

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Who was behind the killing of civilians in Bor? 2014-04-22 06:50:43 By Peter Gai Manyuon "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death", from unknown author. (...)

Embracing victimhood to celebrate victimisation 2014-04-22 06:28:12 By Juliana Bol April 21, 2014 - It was a bit disturbing to hear news of our citizens in the IDP camps (where they are seeking protection and shelter) celebrating the recapture of Bentiu -in (...)

South Sudan: Revenge Killings is not the basis for building a modern nation 2014-04-21 05:39:31 By Steve Paterno April 20, 2014 - The theme of this article develops as a result of my extensive research and writings on a culture of revenge killings among South Sudanese communities, (...)


MORE




VIDEOS



Latest Press Releases


Sudan: No justice for protest killings 2014-04-23 21:06:10 Human Rights WatchRelease Detainees and Punish Abusive Forces (Nairobi, April 21, 2014) – Sudanese authorities have failed to provide justice for scores of civilians killed in anti-government (...)

SDFG mourn the loss of a Sudanese activist 2014-04-20 09:02:39 The Sudan Democracy First Group mourns the loss of Osman Hummaida, a towering figure of the human rights movement in Sudan, and a tireless campaigner for democracy and peace in the country. Osman (...)

UNICEF supports emergency response for children in Sudan with 89 tons of life-saving supplies 2014-04-19 09:47:06 Khartoum, 18 April 2014 --- Today in Khartoum airport, UNICEF received 89 tons of life-saving supplies to support the humanitarian response to children affected by emergencies in various hot (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.