Jul 23, 2015 – WASHINGTON, DC – As President Barack Obama leaves for a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya today, the National Press Club urged the Ethiopian government to immediately release jailed journalists imprisoned for their work.
While six journalists were reportedly released from jail in Ethiopia on July 9, at least 11 others remain imprisoned, according to human rights groups.
Among those still detained is Eskinder Nega, whose high-profile advocacy for press freedom has prompted charges of terrorism – an accusation frequently leveled without basis in fact by governments against their critics.
Nega has earned international recognition for his case, including the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’s 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom award.
Ethiopia’s record of jailing journalists is the second worst in Africa, behind Eritrea, and the country’s press is considered the fourth-most censored in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“There are all too many cases of courageous journalists who have had to stand up against the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on unfavorable press,” said NPC President John Hughes. “While we welcome the government’s release of some reporters, those still imprisoned in Ethiopia must be set free. And press freedom, more broadly, must be better protected there.”
The National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee speaks out on press freedom and transparency issues. The NPC, established in 1908 and based in Washington, D.C., is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists.