US Annual Human Rights Report on Ethiopia
Government harassment of journalists caused them to avoid reporting on sensitive topics. Many private newspapers reported informal editorial control by the government through article placement requests and calls from government officials concerning articles perceived as critical of the government. Private sector and government journalists routinely practiced self-censorship.
On August 9, the Ministry of Justice filed three charges against Feteh editor in chief Temesgen Dessalegn. These charges included inciting and agitating the country’s youth to engage in violence, defamation of government, and destabilizing the public by spreading false reports, based on articles published between December 2011 and August. Temesgen was detained on August 23, but the charges were dropped on August 28 and he was released the same day. The government reopened its case against Temesgen on December 11, and the case remained ongoing at year’s end.
On July 20, authorities arrested Muslim Affairs editor Yusuf Getachew and Muslim Affairs columnist Ahmedin Jebel. Ahmedin Jebel reportedly was tortured. At year’s end, they remained imprisoned along with 27 other Muslim activists accused of terrorist activity.
Also in July two editors from Muslim Affairs, Akmel Negash and Yishak Eshetu, left the country, citing fear of arrest. After these arrests and departures, the publication ceased operation. Courts found journalists Woubishet Taye, Reyot Alemu, and Eskinder Nega, who were arrested in 2011, as well as six journalists/bloggers tried in absentia, guilty of charges under the antiterrorism proclamation in separate cases. Click here to read