Death of press! punitive press law went into effect

Mogad newspaper Government revives 2005 Treason Trial against Banned Journalists
12 December 2008 — Despite widespread criticism on the new press law by international journalists’ organizations and the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association, the law is published on Negarit Gazette and became effective as of today, source said. Introduced by TPLF’s chief prosecutor, Shimelis Kemal, the new press law highly criminalizes the press criticisms. When drafting the law some 5 years ago, Kemal argues the law should include a death sentence against critical journalists. [Read more in Amharic, pdf]

Press Release
Government revives 2005 Treason Trial against Banned Journalists

It is now a little over a year since Ethiopia’s EPRDF led government triumphantly announced to the world that the post 2005 election crises has finally been overcome in the spirit of the new millennium’s rallying dictum of national reconciliation and renewal.

And yet it took the EPRDF led government less than two months after the millennium celebrations to rescind it’s much trumpeted rhetoric and refuse press licenses to independent journalists, illegally restricting the constitutional right to freedom of expression entrusted to all citizens.

But the EPRDF led government has not stooped there. In addition to making a mockery of the constitution it never tires of lauding, it has vengefully reopened the universally discredited treason trial of 2005 against the publishers of Ethiopia’s free press. As such, what were two of Ethiopia’s leading publishing houses, Sisay Publishing and Serkalem Publishing, have been served with court summons(Number 43246) to appear before the first criminal bench of the federal high court on December 24 2008. The summons details the request by the public prosecutor to seize all liquid and fixed assets of the owners of the publishing houses in an effort to collect fines imposed against them upon conviction in the much discredited and infamous treason trial of 2005.

The federal second criminal bench of the high court had dissolved the two publishing houses after imposing hefty fines against them, which was later revoked by a presidential pardon granted to all those charged and convicted in connection with the post 2005 election crises.

We call on the Ethiopian public and the international community to insist the EPRDF led government has the moral and legal obligation to stay committed to the post election crises settlement, which rests on the premise of the restoration of status-quo-ante, annulling the fines and allowing us to resume our work as journalists.

We would also like to reiterate that Serkalem Fasil,who is in Europe for a human rights campaign, will return to Ethiopia as scheduled, on December 15 2008, and face the court.

Sisay Agena,Serkalem Fasil, Eskinder Nega.
Addis Ababa.

አፋኙ “የፕሬስ ህግ” ሥራ ላይ ዋለ

ሀሳብን በነፃነት የመገለፅ መበትን ሙሉ ለሙሉ የሚፃረረውና ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ምንም ዓይነት ነፃ ፕሬስ እንዳይኖር ለማሸበር ታስቦ “ የመገናኛ ብዙሀንና የመረጃ ነፃነት ህግ” በሚል ስያሜ የተረቀቀው የፕሬስ አዋጅ ከትናንት ጀምሮ ሥራ ላይ ዋለ።

“ የነፃ ፕሬስ ጋዜጠኞች በሞት ሊቀጡ ይገባል” ብሎ በሚያምነውና ዐቃቤ ህግ ሆኖ የቅንጅት መሪዎችን በከሰሰው በሽመልስ ከማል አማካኝነት ከ አምስት ዓመት በፊት እንደተረቀቀ የሚነገርለት ይህ አዋጅ ፤ለበርካታ አመታት በሰብዓዊ መብት ተሟጋች ድርጅቶች፣ በህግ ባለሙያዎችና በዓለማቀፍ የፐሬስ ነፃነት ተከራካሪ ቡድኖች ዘንድ ከፍተኛ ተቃውሞ እንደገጠመው ይታወቃል።

ሆኖም፤ የዲሞክራሲን ምሰሶ ከስሩ ለመንቀልና ፕሬሱን ለማጥፋት ታጥቆ የተነሳው የመለስ አገዛዝ ባለፈው ክረምት ረቂቁን በፓርላማ እንዲፀድቅ ካደረገ በሁዋላ “ህጉ” ተግባራዊ የሚሆነው በነጋሪት ጋዜጣ ታትሞ ከወጣ በሁዋላ ነው ‘ ተብሎ እስከዛሬ ሲጠበቅ ነበር።

በዚህም መሰረት በትናንትናው ዕለት በነጋሪት ጋዘየጣ የወጣ ሲሆን፤ በ አገቱ የሚገኙ እፍኝ የማይሞሉ ፕሬሶች ከዛሬ ጀምሮ በዚህ አፋኝ ህግ ስር ለመውደቅ ተገድደዋል።

ይህም ብዙዎችን ከማሳዘኑ ባሻገር፤ ከ80 ሚሊየን በሚበልጠው የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ላይ የተፈጸመ የአፈና እርምጃ መሆኑን ፖለቲከኞች እየገለፁ ይገኛሉ።

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Posted by on December 12, 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.