July 31, 2011

German parliamentarians denounces media ban in Ethiopia

German Parliamentarian Thilo Hoppe issued the following press release today on the attempt by Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator to ban independent media and silence critics.(PRESS RELEASE PDF)

According to reports from journalists at Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, the Ethiopian government is keeping a “blacklist” of names of “undesirable” journalists and “subversive” critics. In this context, Thilo Hoppe, a Member of the German Bundestag who is himself amongst those listed, has made the following statement:
The attempt to ban foreign media broadcasting in Ethiopia from conducting interviews with opposition activists and critical observers demonstrates once again the sorry state of freedom of expression in Ethiopia.

According to information provided by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of exiled journalists in the world. Under the guise of an anti-terrorism law adopted in 2009, newspapers are being shut down and journalists arrested. The radio frequencies of the Deutsche Welle’s Amharic programme are frequently systematically jammed.

After the intergovernmental negotiations with Ethiopia in June, German Development Minister Niebel stressed the importance of human-rights dialogue in German-Ethiopian development cooperation.

If more than lip service is to be paid to this human-rights dialogue, these new cases of violation of press freedom must also be clearly and firmly raised in discussions with Ethiopian partners.

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