FAJ Opposes Use of Anti-Terrorism Legislation Against Journalists in Ethiopia

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional

organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today expresses

its concern regarding the 18-year prison sentence to journalist ?Eskinder

Nega, handed down on Friday, 13 July by Ethiopian court in Addis Ababa.

 

Eskinkder Nega and 23 opposition figures were found guilty of terrorism

related charges on 27 June. Nega, 44, was arrested in September 2011 and

accused of supporting US-based political group, Ginbot 7, which is banned in

Ethiopia.

The journalist was also accused of provoking “violence”, “hate” and

encouraging Arab spring revolution to unseat the current government.

 

“We oppose the sentence and strongly state that the expression of critical

opinions should not be criminalised. Prosecution of journalists under

anti-terrorism law is unacceptable and we call for an immediate end of its

usage,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.

 

Since last year, Ethiopian and Swedish journalists were prosecuted under the

anti-terrorism law.“These convictions and prison sentences are unnecessary, disproportionate,

and unjustifiable; they also constitute a form of censorship given their

intimidating and chilling effect on the work of journalists,” added Osman.

 

The FAJ delegation which is in Ethiopia to lobby the African Union on the

safety and protection of African journalists met Communications Minister of

Ethiopia, Bereket Simon and discussed many issues including the incarceration

of journalists, self regulation and the Pan African conference on safety of

journalists in September, in Addis Ababa.

 

For more information contact the IFJ: 221 33 867 95 86/87

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in

134 countries