The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned in the strongest terms possible these acts of harassment and intimidation of journalists and media workers who were simply doing their job.
According to local reports, the offices of media outlets Nisir International Corporation and Ashara were raided because of their reports on the activities of a local volunteer militia known as Fano. Four employees from Nisir, mainly journalists and media workers were arrested by security forces and local police and two of them are believed to be detained in a prison in Bahir Dar, while the other two are believed to be held in the town of Gayint, about 160 Kilometers from Bahir Dar.
On the other hand, five journalists and media workers from Ashara media outlet who were arrested at their studio in Bahir Dar on 26 May are held in a detention centre outside of the city. Local media reported that over 4000 people suspected of crimes have been arrested in an “ongoing enforcement operation”.
The Head of the Amhara’s Peace and Security Bureau said in a statement, “The Government will continue in a reinvigorated manner this peacekeeping work.”
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) expressed concern about the spate of arrests that had “netted “ journalists and other social activists and lamented that these arrests were unlawful as they did not follow basic human rights principles.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said that since the crisis erupted in the Tigray region in 2020, there has been a systematic pattern of repression by the Ethiopian Government to silence the media. “Journalists have been killed with impunity, tortured and harassed in the region in other to stop them from doing their work and to deny the Ethiopian public from receiving the terrible news of killings, plunder and rape from the frontlines. We call on the Ethiopian Government to release the nine media workers arrested on 26-27 May unconditionally, return every equipment that was seized from Nisir and Ashara and to compensate them for any damage to their studios."