“Journalists are not terrorists”

first_img Receive email alerts News RSF condemns NYT reporter’s unprecedented expulsion from Ethiopia RSF_en May 18, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders has just visited Ethiopia, where two Swedish journalists, Kontinent news agency reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, were sentenced to 11 years in prison on 29 December on charges of entering the country illegally and supporting terrorism.During the visit, from 9 to 12 January, the two Swedish journalists decided to request a presidential pardon instead of appealing against their conviction. “In Ethiopia, there is a long tradition of pardons and we have chosen to leave it to this tradition,” they said, announcing their decision on 10 January in Addis Ababa’s Kality prison.“Persson and Schibbye were arrested with members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front but they never supported terrorism,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They went to the Ogaden as journalists. We are now in a new phase, one of political negotiation, and we hope that the Ethiopian authorities, the National Pardon Board and everyone else involved can reach an agreement under which they are released quickly.”During the visit, Reporters Without Borders also assessed the current state of media freedom in Ethiopia and the constraints on its journalists, two of whom were convicted on terrorism charges on 19 January in Addis Ababa.A repressive legislative arsenal and dwindling room for expressionEven if recent years have been marked by tension between the government and privately-owned media and surveillance of the most outspoken journalists, Reporters Without Borders recognizes that there is space for freedom of expression in Ethiopia. As well as two state-owned dailies, the Amharic-language Addis Zemen and the English-language Ethiopian Herald, there are also privately-owned newspapers such as the Amharic-language Reporter, Addis Admas, Sendek, Mesenazeria and Fitih, along with the English-language The Reporter and The Daily Monitor. The privately-owned newspapers are routinely critical of government policies and at times provocative.But, in the course of its observations and the interviews it conducted during this visit, Reporters Without Borders confirmed that freedom of expression has been on the wane for some time. This has been seen, for example, in the fact that two Amharic-language weeklies, Addis Neger and Awramba Times, ceased to publish when their journalists fled the country, in December 2009 in the case of the first, and November 2011 in the case of the second.In the course of the past three years, Ethiopia has adopted laws targeting civil society and combating terrorism that have arguably rode roughshod over rights guaranteed by Ethiopia’s constitution. It is partly this legislative arsenal that has had the direct effect of reducing the democratic space and freedom of expression.Taboo subjects and working as a journalistSpeaking on condition of anonymity, an Ethiopian journalist who works for one of the weeklies told Reporters Without Borders: “There are red lines we cannot trespass while covering news stories. For example, the Oromo Liberation Front, which has long been a separatist movement, announced a few days ago on a website based abroad that it was abandoning its demand for autonomy. This is big news for Ethiopia but we cannot cover it in the local press because the authorities regard the OLF as a terrorist organization and referring to it might get you arrested.”The journalist added: “We cannot publish the views of certain people, either. The journalist Mesfin Negash of Addis Neger, for example, is wanted on a terrorism charge. As he is living in exile, he can still write articles and offer them to newspapers in Ethiopia. But who is going to take the risk of publishing them? You could possibly be picked up at once and face charges. The law forbids it, so it is indirect censorship.”Reporters Without Borders is concerned that when journalists with the privately-owned media dare to persist with their fierce criticisms of the state, it happens that they become the targets of criticism or smear campaigns in the state-owned or pro-government media.Widespread self-censorship and fear of arrest have also at times led journalists to flee the country. After those who fled in December 2009, at least another three left in November 2011. They were Abebe Tola, also known as “Abe Tokichaw,” a well-known columnist for the Fitih and Awramba Times weeklies, his colleague Tesfaye Degu of Netsanet and Awramba Times editor Dawit Kebede.Journalists facing a possible death sentence on terrorism chargesReporters Without Borders wrote to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August 2011 requesting an investigation into the condition in which two journalists were being held – Awramba Times deputy editor Woubeshet Taye, who was arrested on 19 June, and Fitih columnist Reyot Alemu, who was arrested on 21 June. The letter did not get a reply.In Addis Ababa, Reporters Without Borders asked the NGO “Justice for all, Prison Fellowship Ethiopia” to make enquiries about their situation and work with the government to assure that they are held in acceptable conditions while in detention.On 19 January, an Addis Ababa court found these two journalists, along with a number of opposition figures, guilty of participating in a terrorist organization and preparing a terrorist attack. The charges carry a possible death penalty or life imprisonment. The court is due to issue sentences on a later date.“Was there any irrefutable evidence of their involvement in terrorist activity produced in court?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “As showed by the prosecutor, both may have been in contact with opposition figures, which was risky, but the court should have considered the possibility that it could have been done in the exercise of freedom of expression. We are very disturbed by the idea that these two journalists may well receive harsh sentences just for expressing opinions. “The Ethiopian government says the court just followed the law, but this law could violate journalists’ freedom to practice their profession, a freedom guaranteed by the constitution. A journalist carries a tough duty to proving information to the public. He needs special protection in order to fulfill this duty. This law in Ethiopia no longer allows journalists to do their job in that sense.” Follow the news on Ethiopia News February 10, 2021 Find out more Journalist attacked, threatened in her Addis Ababa home Newscenter_img Help by sharing this information Ethiopia arbitrarily suspends New York Times reporter’s accreditation May 21, 2021 Find out more News Organisation EthiopiaAfrica to go further EthiopiaAfrica January 24, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “Journalists are not terrorists”last_img read more

Christmas at the Center raises funds for JCA

first_img Print Article National one-day deaths top D-Day, 9-11 Just when the U.S. appears on the verge of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, the numbers have become gloomier than… read more Oh, what a night.Christmas as the Center was a night for the arts and for those appreciate the talent, dedication and devotion of the artists.Brenda Campbell, director of the hosting Johnson Center for the Arts, expressed appreciation to the artists who participated and to those came in support of the artists and the arts and, of course the JCA.“Even with the restrictions of COVID-19, we had great participation by the artists and great support from the community,” Campbell said. “The Holiday Fair was held at The Studio where the artists and their work were showcased. Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Sponsored Content Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Patriot Health ZoneHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential Health32-second Stretch Ends Back Pain & Sciatica (Watch)Healthier LivingThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits You Might Like Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day Of course, the Christmas Tree Extravaganza was a focal point at the Johnson Center. The Christmas trees were decorated by students from different schools around the county and will be showcased during the Christmas holidays.”Mack Gibson, past chairman of the JCA board of directors, said even in this unprecedented year, the arts have continued to have a prominent place at the JCA and in the Troy and Pike County communities.“You only have walk in the Johnson Center to know what it means to this community,” he said. “And, when you look around and see the work of so many talented artists, you have to be impressed.”Those who attended Christmas at the Center had the opportunity to visit with the participating artists and to purchase their artwork. By Jaine Treadwell Book Nook to reopencenter_img By The Penny Hoarder Christmas at the Center raises funds for JCA However, Campbell said shopping opportunities are available via the JCA Christmas catalogue. To view the catalogue artwork, go to www.jcatroy.org/holiday-shopping or call 334-670-2287 or email [email protected] sold items are so marked. Published 10:40 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020 Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Hope and Grace Thomas pose with their grandmother, Hilda, during the Johnson Center for the Arts Christmas at the Center event. The trio were selling their original artwork at the event. Latest Stories The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… Skip Email the authorlast_img read more