Monday, June 27, 2016

Five Journalists Arrested in Ethiopia

Early last week, on Monday, June 22, five journalists were invited to a press conference under false pretenses and arrested by authorities in the small town of Wajale, Ethiopia, which is located near the Somali border. Soon after, four of the five journalists were released while one, Muktar Nuh with the Horn Cable TV (HCTV), remains in jail. HCTV was also taken off the air and made to stop broadcasting. This event, that raises questions about human rights in Ethiopia, comes at a time when the country is trying to highlight the positive economic effects of its reconstruction.

There has been no reason provided by the Ethiopian government for the arrest of the five journalists, but this type of treatment of media is not completely uncommon in the region. There are presently other journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia and one ongoing case in Hargeisa involving another Somali reporter. There are concerns that government officials encourage “tight security” that “restricts the political and civil rights of the ethnic Somalis.” For reporters who travel to areas like Ogaden, which is situated in eastern Ethiopia near the Somali border, often they must be accompanied by government representatives as was the case recently for an Al-Jazeera news crew.

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