Ethiopia / Media Landscape Still Uncertain as Ethiopia Releases Jailed Journalists

August 21st, 2008 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, August 21, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed concern today about the media environment in Ethiopia even though all journalists jailed in relation to their work since the November 2005 crackdown, have been released. ”The release of all journalists from prison in Ethiopia is a positive development” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.  “However, we still expect the Ethiopian Government to put an end to the intimidation of journalists in order to make it possible for the independent media to work freely.”

A mission of the IFJ and the Eastern Africa Journalists Association to Ethiopia two weeks ago noted that the media landscape in Ethiopia is still rocky, as up to about eight newspapers that were closed during the November 2005 crackdown are still being denied licenses to operate. A number of Ethiopian journalists in exile are still afraid to return home for fear of reprisals. The New Media Law passed by the parliament on July 1 was said to be repressive by independent Ethiopian journalists with harsh penalties related to libel; others journalists objected to the inclusion of the Freedom of Information Bill within the media law.

The IFJ urges Ethiopian government to accept the role the media plays in society and to allow the media to perform its duties within the acceptable standards and necessary conditions in a modern democracy.

“The government should engage dialogue most especially with the independent media in order to improve press freedom and working conditions of journalists for ethical journalism in Ethiopia,” said Baglo.

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