We, members of Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA) in exile all over the world, observe today, 3 May 2009, in sadness.
We are increasingly disturbed and despaired by the persistent authoritarian and brutal behavior of the government of Meles Zenawi, which succeeded in effectively putting all services and resources of the state bureaucracy under its monopolistic hold to suppress and finally silence the independent press, the only form of outlet for the people of Ethiopia.
One of the most glaring instances of the intensity of the persecutions of the free-press is manifested in the large number of journalists who fled the country in exile to save their lives. Over 101 journalists are in exile, 11 are still facing serious plights in Kenya, Uganda, Yemen, Japan and India.
Most journalists have left after the brutal 2005 crackdown on the press. In October 2005 the government closed down all independent publications in the country as a deadly vengeance to its defeat in the elections. Since then most of those publications have not been allowed to resume. Journalists Serkalem Fasil, Eskindir Nega and Sisay Agena are still denied press license.
Editors of weeklies: Awramba Times, Harambe, Enku and Addis Neger suffering under frequent harassments under the new punitive press Law, which has become the tool of silencing any criticisms against the ruling party. And several papers are compelled to close down due to persistent harassments and deliberate sky-rocketing of printing prices.
We appeal to the international community, donor countries and Human rights groups to put pressure on the government of Meles Zenawi to lift the ban on the free press and reverse the dreadful policies which the regime is implementing against Independent Journalists. We also urge the international community not to ignore the plights of exiled journalists in Kenya, Uganda, Yemen and India, who are facing serious problem.
We take this opportunity to thank the numerous international Media & Human Rights Organizations that have been maintaining a steady solidarity with EFJA, and have played a crucial role in publicizing the tribulations of Ethiopian Journalists.
ETHIOPIAN FREE PRESS JOURNALISTS’ASSOCIATION
+31 20 4862 714
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