Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ethiopian Jailed Journalist Honoured

Journalists and media owners across Africa have honored a jailed Ethiopian journalist, Woubshet Taye. In a statement extended to the Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Woubshet Taye was honored during the African Journalist Awards 2013.
The journalists' wife and son received the award on his behalf at a ceremony held on Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa. Comprising a panel of 10 independent judges, the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards was launched in 1995 and has since been held yearly honouring journalists in recognition of their contribution to a free press in Africa despite the risks they face.
Woubshet, deputy editor of the Awramba Times, was detained in June 2011 on terror charges. He is currently serving 14 year jail term after he was found guilty in January 2012 under Ethiopia's controversial anti-terrorism law.
Following his arrest the paper's editor fled into exile and the privately run paper was banned from publishing. Similarly, prominent Journalists Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega are serving a 5 and 18 year jail terms respectively on terrorism related charges.
"Journalists like Woubshet Taye and his colleagues Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega should be out of prison and working to build the prosperity and the freedom of a new Ethiopia" explained judges at the journalism award adding " This award is in recognition of Wubshet's work and in solidarity with his condition"
According to CPJ sources, Woubshet's application for a presidential pardon was rejected in September.
After receiving the Award, his wife, Berhane Tesfaye, said "her husband was grateful for the solidarity and received the award in the name of all journalists who are oppressed"
Meanwhile a newspaper editor for the independent weekly, The Reporter, Melaku Demisse, was last week arrested and briefly detained by police in Addis Ababa.
Demisse was picked from his office in Addis Ababa and taken to the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional State (SNNPR) where he was interrogated by the regional police.
"Demisse is freed after he was held briefly in custody in Awasa" The Reporter editor in chief, Amare Aregawi, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Aregawi accused the police of illegally transferring Demisse to Awasa, the capital city of the SNNPR, some 250 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa.
"It was up to the court's decision to transfer him to a regional state and not of the Police" he said. Desmisse was arrested after wrongly reporting about the dismissal of three SNNPR's vice-presidents.
Following the publication, the newspaper has retracted the story and apologized. According to Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Ethiopia is Ranked 137th out of 179 countries and is labelled as Africa's foremost jailer of Journalists next to neighbouring Eritrea.

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