Ethiopian government moves to stifle and repress journalists legally

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A global media freedom wat chdog, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), on Thursday decried press freedom violations in Ethiopia while calling on the international community to help arrest “the Ethiopian government’s repression of the media”.

“We are deeply disappointed by the serious press freedom violations committed by the Ethiopian government and the law (on censorship) passed by its Parliament,” said IFJ Director for Africa Office, Gabriel Baglo.

“We call on the African Union, the United Nations and the international community to put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to stop the repression of the media.”

According to IFJ, the ruling party – Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front – last week led the passage in Parliament of a new law that allows the state prosecutor to censor the media to “protect national security,” imposes heavy fines on media outlets that break the law and restricts access to information by the media and the public.

“A day after the law was passed, Ethiopia’s High Court issued an order to the federal police to collect fines from four publishing houses stemming from convictions related to the 2005 post-election riots.

“The government also blocked the issue of press licenses to some of the owners of these outlets.”

The media freedom body also catalogued other restrictive measures taken by Ethiopia’s parliament. Panapress .

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