Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Mass Media Professionals Association (EMMPA) has called on the government to “immediately release” all media professionals that are detained by security forces “without any legal procedure”. In a statement it issued today, the Association also urged for an end to harassment and intimidation that media professionals are facing in Ethiopia.
The Association said that as of late, the space in which media professionals are functioning in Ethiopia is increasingly narrowing down, whereas accounts of intimidations and humiliation of journalists and media professionals by security forces are on the rise.
EMMPA listed at least six journalists, including Dawit Begashau, editor of YouTube based “Arat Kilo Media”, and a member of the executive committee and head of foreign and public relations of the the Association itself are currently in police custody.
Other journalists and media professionals detained by the police and mentioned by the Association include Genet Asmamaw, Tewdros Asfaw, Aragaw Sisay, Getnet Ashagare, and Beyene Wolde.
It is recalled that Meskerem Abera, founder and owner of “Ethio Nikat“, a YouTube-based media, has also been detained this week for the third time by members of the federal police and security officers wearing civilian clothes. A few days later, pro-government bloggers and social media activists released to the public an audio recording allegedly containing a conversation between Meskerem and a member of Amhara Fano militia discussing, among others, possibilities of facilitating financial transactions by Meskerem. Addis Standard couldn’t independently verify the claim.
The association stated it believes that when suspected of committing errors during their works, media professionals should be held to account according to the media law; furthermore, it expressed its concerns that the provisions set forth in the country’s media law which prohibits the detentions of journalists are not been implemented and that some of the the whereabouts of some of the detained journalists is unknown, including to their own families.AS