Ethiopia detains three journalists for ‘promoting terrorism’


NAIROBI (Reuters) – A contract video journalist accredited to the Associated Press and two different native journalists have been detained in Ethiopia, based on police and the nation’s media regulator.

Federal police accused the journalists in an announcement late on Wednesday of “selling terrorism” by interviewing members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which parliament has designated a terrorist group.

The AP reported that its freelancer, Amir Aman Kiyaro, was detained on Nov. 28 underneath the nation’s war-related state of emergency after returning residence from a reporting journey. He has not been charged, the report mentioned.

“These are baseless allegations. Kiyaro is an impartial journalist who has completed vital work in Ethiopia on all sides of the battle,” AP Executive Editor Julie Pace mentioned in an announcement. “We name on the Ethiopian authorities to launch Kiyaro instantly.”

The police assertion recognized the opposite detained journalists as impartial cameraman Thomas Engida and Addisu Muluneh of the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting community.

Admasu Damtew, chief government of Fana, declined to remark, saying Addisu’s arrest “does not relate to us.” He didn’t elaborate.

The journalists may face seven to fifteen years behind bars for violating Ethiopia’s state of emergency and anti-terrorism legislation, federal police Inspector Tesfaye Olani advised state media.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed oversaw sweeping reforms when he took workplace in 2018, together with the unbanning of greater than 250 media retailers, the discharge of dozens of journalists and the repeal of some broadly criticized media legal guidelines.

However, some rights teams say press freedom has eroded since then as the federal government has confronted outbreaks of lethal violence, together with the battle that broke out within the northern Tigray area in November 2020.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says not less than 14 journalists have been arrested since a state of emergency was declared on Nov. 2 this yr.

Asked concerning the newest arrests, Ethiopia’s media regulator mentioned police detained the three journalists for “violating the legislation of the land.”

“They had been caught whereas producing promotional content material for a gaggle that has been designated as a terrorist group,” Mohammed Edris, head of the Ethiopian Media Authority, advised Reuters, referring to the OLA.

The OLA didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Edris dismissed accusations of a clamp down on media freedom, saying “the fact on the bottom is that there are extra media retailers and journalists freely working within the nation now than ever.”

A spokeswoman for the prime minister didn’t reply to a request for remark.

(Reporting by the Nairobi newsroom; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Nick Tattersall)

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