IFJ Calls for Dismissal of Terrorism Charges against Swedish Journalists in Ethiopia


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the Ethiopian

authorities of waging an intimidation campaign against the independent media

after four journalists, including two Swedish reporters, were charged with

terrorism in Addis Ababa. Swedish reporter Martain Schibbye and

photographer John Persson are facing trial for reporting on the situation in

the country.  Their Ethiopian colleagues

Woubshet and Reeyot Alemu who work for independent media outlets in the country

and have been in detention since June 2011.


are outrageous accusations designed to intimidate journalists who seek to work

independently in Ethiopia," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Office Director.

"There can be no press freedom when the media is denied access to independent

information. We urge the authorities to drop these charges and set all our

colleagues free."


say that the two Swedish nationals appeared before a court in Addis Ababa on

Wednesday 7 September where they were formally charged with terrorism. Johan

and Martin were arrested on 27 June after crossing into Ethiopia from

Somaliland. The journalists reportedly admitted entering Ethiopian territory

without visas but denied any involvement with terrorism.  Under the Ethiopian anti- terror legislation,

the journalists could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted.


IFJ supports the call made by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) for

the immediate release of the two journalists, saying the reporters' detention

risks impacting negatively on the standing of the Ethiopia on press freedom and

rule of law.


are clearly not terrorists, but journalists who have been doing their work in a

place where little information reaches the world," said Arne König. "They pose no risk to

the public safety or order and should be released immediately so that they can

go back to their families and colleagues."


the meantime, two other Ethiopian journalists, deputy editor of the independent

weekly Awramba Times Woubshet Taye

and Reeyot Alemu, a regular contributor to the independent weekly Feteh who were arrested in June, also face charges under the terrorism act.


IFJ says that these cases add to the urgency of governments' reviews of

anti-terror laws to guarantee press freedom and the protection of journalists.

An international conference organised by the IFJ and EFJ last weekend

emphatically rejected the abuse of laws to fight terrorism as an excuse to

silence independent media and political dissent.

 For more information contact the IFJ at   +221 33 867 95

87 / +32 2 235 2200

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 131 countries worldwide