You are currently viewing News: CPJ calls for release of journalist Muhiyadin Mohamed, charged with hate speech, facing up to five years in prison

News: CPJ calls for release of journalist Muhiyadin Mohamed, charged with hate speech, facing up to five years in prison

Ethiopian journalist Muhiyadin Mohamed Abdullahi presenting on his program, “Muxiyediin,” in 2020 (Photo: CPJ)

Addis Abeba – Muhiyadin Mohamed Abdullahi, a journalist operating within Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State, is currently confronting the possibility of a five-year imprisonment term following accusations of “spreading false news and hate speech,” as delineated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

On 04 March, nearly a month after his arrest, authorities charged Muhiyadin under Ethiopia’s hate speech and disinformation law, according to CPJ.

Previously, Addis Standard reported that Muhiyadin was apprehended on 13 February, by regional security personnel from his residence in Jigjiga, the capital city of Somali Regional State, over his social media posts regarding traffic disruptions caused by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s recent visit.

Two weeks later, the Somali Region Journalists’ Association issued a formal appeal demanding Muhiyadin’s immediate release.

The charges claim Muhiyadin incited the public in a 12 February Facebook post to “stand up against the non-believer whom they closed the roads for,” though the CPJ’s review of his page found only a post criticizing road closures ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Prior to his arrest, Muhiyadin said on Facebook that he had been threatened for his reporting.

On 02 February, he stated that his coverage would not be “silenced by anyone.” A day after, he said he planned to leave the Somali Regional State after being threatened by the ruling party and the opposition for criticizing them.

“Officials should stop wasting public resources on prosecuting a journalist whose only crime was criticizing political elites on Facebook,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator. “Authorities must release Muhiyadin immediately and drop this criminal case against him.”

Muhiyadin had previously been detained for three days in 2023 after posting a video regarding the suspension of 15 media outlets in the region.

The CPJ called on Ethiopian authorities to unconditionally release Muhiyadin and end the practice of arbitrarily detaining journalists for their reporting and commentary. AS

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