ADDIS ABABA: THE Ethiopian government has been urged to release with immediate effect six journalists arrested by police for allegedly inciting hate speech. The government accused the six of reporting news articles that encouraged violence, hate and lawlessness in the country.
The nine journalists currently languishing in police custody comprise Natnail Feleke, Abel Wabella, Tesfalem Waldyes, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu-and, Zelalem Kibret, Asmamaw Hailegiorgis and Edom Kassaye.
However, the journalists have denied ever engaging in the reporting that incited violence and lawlessness. Reacting to the arrest of journalists, East Africa’s Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) representative, Tom Rhodes, said his organisation was concerned about the imprisonment.
He said CPJ had joined more than 40 other press freedom and civil society organizations that have signed a joint letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressing concern over the recent imprisonment of the journalists under the country’s “far-reaching 2009 anti-terrorism law.”
Rhodes said his organisation was calling for the the Ethiopian government to release all journalists arrested to allow freedom of expression.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY