The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today has insisted to Ethiopian Authorities that journalists are not terrorists following the warning by the Prime Minister to journalists to operate free from terrorists.
According to the Ethiopian National Journalists Union (ENJU) a FAJ affiliate, Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Desalegn told a press conference Friday 18 July 2014 that Ethiopian Journalists should practice professional journalism and make sure they are not parroting the agenda of some terrorist groups.
"We call on the Prime Minister to understand that journalists are neither criminals nor terrorists. Their role is to collect, process and disseminate news and information to the general public”, said Mohamed Garba, FAJ President. “They may report terrorists related news but that does not make them terrorists'' he added.
ENJU reported that responding to questions from reporters the Prime Mister said that the Ethiopian government would continue fighting terrorist elements in the years ahead to protect the people from attacks and facilitate peaceful environment for economic development. "Anyone who is seen and acting within this terrorist network.... will be eligible for the course of law," he said.
A number of journalists are in prison in Ethiopia and the nine bloggers and journalists recently detained for nearly three months have been charged with terrorism.
Journalists in the course of their work are duty bound to comment on basis of facts of their reports and investigations: their comments can be critical or favourable to government or to the opposition or minority in parliament. This does not make the journalist a terrorist.
For more information, please contact FAJ Secretariat: +221 33 867 95 86/87
FAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa