Amsterdam (3 May 2009) Exiled Ethiopian Free Press Journalists observed World Press Freedom Day, which is being celebrated today. In a teleconference held worldwide, the Ethiopian journalists have stressed on the plight of the free press journalists and assessed the state of press freedom in Ethiopia. They have also discussed the problems of colleague journalists who are stranded in Africa and Middle East.
In a White House statement on Saturday, President Barack Obama decried press freedom violations in African countries. Obama criticizes African countries which are attacking the press. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) puts Ethiopia among the top jailer of journalists in Africa. In its report published today, Freedom House has also criticized the state of media freedom in Ethiopia.
Freedom House said room for independent media shrunk significantly in Ethiopia. It condemned the punitive press law and media restrictions in regions such as the Ogaden.
About 101 journalists are forced to flee Ethiopia. Most are left after the brutal 2005 crackdown on the press. Frequent intimidations and harassed by the regime continues throughout the year. The regime denied to issue press licenses to journalists Serkalem Fasil, Eskindir Nega and Sisay Agena . Editors of weeklies: Awramba Times, Harambe, Enku and Addis Neger suffering under frequent harassments and several papers are compelled to close down due to a deliberate sky-rocketing of printing prices, by the regime.
In the teleconference, Exiled Ethiopian journalists stressed the troubles of 13 journalists stranded in Kenya, Uganda, Yemen, Japan and India, who need attention from government and non-governmental organizations.