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News: Rights Commission expresses concern over detentions of journalists, factors affecting media landscape

Journalist Sisay Gobeze of Yegna TV was detained by plain cloth security forces on 01 April. Picture: Screenshot

Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) expressed concerns over medial professionals detentions and other factors affecting the media landscape in Ethiopia, including “taxation, production costs, access to information, ability to organize and infrastructure.”

In a statement EHRC released on today’s occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele recalled the Commission’s Statement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in April 2022, where concern over the detention without due process of journalists and media personnel over the past year, despite subsequent release of several, was strongly highlighted. 

On 01 April, plain cloth security forces detained journalist Sisay Gobeze of Yegna TV, under circumstances that are not clear yet. “The Chief Commissioner expressed concern about the recent arrest of journalist Gobeze Sisay whose whereabouts remain unknown since being taken by plain cloth officers on Sunday morning as of the time of publication of this statement,” EHRC said in the statement.

Three journalists: Bikila Amenu, Dachasa Wirtu Bati, and Desu Dulla, who were arrested last year, appeared at the Oromia Supreme court today as per the earlier adjournment set on April 21. The court had previously ordered the prosecution to present a retort to the defense presented by the legal team of the accused. They are facing charges of working to dismantle the legally established government to impose the Oromia Regional National Transitional Government. They are currently detained at Dalati Detention center in Sebeta town. The CPJ has called on authorities to “drop all charges against them, and stop targeting members of the press.”

“Monitoring of the situation of journalists and media personnel in detention is only part of the work on press freedom. The overall nationwide media landscape can be affected by several factors including taxation, production costs, access to information, ability to organize and infrastructure. This calls for a strong coordination and collaboration among all state and civil society stakeholders working on press and media related issues in Ethiopia,” Daniel said. AS

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