Saturday, October 1, 2016

New wave of crack down: Blogger Seyoum Teshome arrested

By Ethiopian press

While Zone9 Bloggers are still defending their appeal, Blogger Eskinder Nega and Zelalem workagnehu are serving 17 years and 5 years in prison respectively. Today,another independent blogger and social media activists has been taken away by security Forces. Multiple social media Reports indicate that  Seyoum Teshome  has been taken away by security forces. He is a Lecturer at Ambo University Woliso Campus and head of Management Department and studied Management at Harameya University and MBA at Mekelle University. He writes on Pro government blog (Horn affairs)  and on his own blog (EthioThinkthank)

picture taken from his facebook 
Seyoum is a longtime social media activist on online platform, he has been closely following the developments in the country every since #OromoProtest erupted. social media platforms hasnt been safe place to express opinion freely especially since the arrest of Zone9 bloggers.  it can be also be recalled  that Journalist Getachew shiferaw  and online activist Yonathan Tesfaye  were arrested in December 2015  who later charged with terrorism accused of inciting violence through social media. They still remain in Jail despite pressure from the international community. Woliso campus  where Seyoum teaches  has been the epicenter of #OromoProtest  in December 2015. Seyoum  has been reporting and sharing his critical reflection on social media thus far. His comments has appeared on international medias such Newyork times and the guardian . Several times,He has been interviewed by diaspora based news outlets that focus on Ethiopia.

#OromoProtest Riot in Waliso

“My attempts to reach him via his phone ended unsuccessfully,” said Befeqadu.  Seyoum Teshome has been among the critical voice on social media.  The Ethiopian government has  intensified its crack down on critical voices using the infamous anti terrorism law. Online activists have been constantly blamed  by the government for the ongoing anti-government protests across the country.  It can be recalled that On June 7, 2016, To intensify crack down on online activists the rubber stamp parliament has approved a new computer proclamation . Ethiopia is now carrying out a new wave crackdown. Yesterday Daughter of  Bekele Gerba Bontu Gerba was detained and released after security forces took 1000 copies of an upcoming book written by her father.

According to Girma Guterma (a social media activitst) his house has been searched and belongings has been confiscated. Seyoum's Whereabout is still Unkown. a recently released blogger pointed that due to the house search, its unlikely that he is simply detained for a shortwhile. he could be in makelawi where dissents are tortured

Ethiopia remain  a hostile place for critical voices, despite calls from the united states and other affluent nations  to give spaces  and amend the anti-Terrorism law, the Ethiopian government has continued to muzzle Freedom of expression. Following the adoption of the anti-terrorism law and charity and society law. several civil society organizations have been closed and many journalists have been forced live in exile. Due to the absence of independent medias,social media has emerged to be the only platform to vent dissatisfaction and a platform to give a coverage about the ongoing political and Human right crisis in Ethiopia. Internet blockout had happened several times on the continuing struggle for Freedom mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions to limit the flow of information coming out from Ethiopia.  The lawless state has made it tough for journalists from other countries to report, many Foreign News correspondents have been detained and released in the past few months only.  On a recent Visit to Newyork, Prime minister hailemariam Desalegn addressing the UN Underscored that  “Social media has certainly empowered populists and other extremists to exploit people’s genuine concerns and spread their message of hate and bigotry without any inhibition.”  The prime minster is known for his odd and logically flawed comment about bloggers, activists  and the political crisis in general.

Predictably, Pro government voice Seyoum's defended seyoum's arrest Interpreting his critical reflections as hate speech.  A long and tired tactic used by Ethiopian government to silences Journalists, bloggers critical of the regime. 

Ethiopia  is ranked 142 in  press freedom index, It remains not Free based on the latest report of Freedom house.  According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Ethiopia had the second-highest number of jailed journalists in Africa after Eritrea. As per Human Rights Watch, since 2010, 60 Ethiopian journalists have "fled into exile, including 30 in 2014 alone. Bloggers, Journalists and social media activists reporting on opposition activities face  harassment and prosecution under Ethiopia’s sweeping 2009 Anti-terrorism Proclamation.

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