For Immediate Release: Addis Neger ceases publication

December 4th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Washington DC – Following legal and political harassment and intimidation by the Ethiopian government, Addis Neger Publishing announced that its major publication, Addis Neger Newspaper, ceased circulation. (more…)

Washington DC – Following legal and political harassment and intimidation by the Ethiopian government, Addis Neger Publishing announced that its major publication, Addis Neger Newspaper, ceased circulation. Saturday November 28, 2009 saw the final edition of the paper.

“Addis Neger, one of the few leading independent voices in Ethiopia, became the victim of yet another crackdown on free speech and the freedom of the press in Ethiopia,” said Mesfin Negash, Managing Editor of the Paper. “Our newspaper was one of the country’s best examples of what independent journalists with an internal capacity to act free of constraints can accomplish in being the platform for intake and synthesis of public opinion. Unfortunately, a government which had a habit of wantonly and aggressively stepping into the locus and crystallization of public opinion as both a platform controller and dictator had made our task impossible.”

Three of Addis Neger’s editors left the country this week after the paper learnt that the government was preparing criminal charges against its top editors, reporters and owners based on the new anti-terror law and the criminal code. The decision of the publishing company to close down the publication was made to protect its owners and journalists from this massive onslaught by the government. “This is the culmination of months of persecution, harassment and black propaganda by the Ethiopian government on Addis Neger,” said Abiye Teklemariam, the paper’s Executive Editor. “The preparation to use the new anti-terror law against our journalists and editors was just throwing the last wood in the chimney.”

Addis Neger was established in September 2007 with an ideal of bringing justificatory discourse to the Ethiopian public sphere. Its twin editorial plans had been “the Idea of Public Reason” and “Integrity and Independence.” In the last two years, these pillars served as the backbones of the paper’s interaction with the public, helping it to register phenomenal growth in its circulation, influence and investment.

Addis Neger also introduced a new model of media ownership. Founded by six former journalists who were victims of the media crackdown following post election crisis in 2005, it was expanding its ownership base to other journalistic members of the paper. It was hoped that the model would bring sustainability to the press as an institution.

Addis Neger Publishing Company promised to be back to the media scene in the future. According to Mesfin Negash, the company would venture into a new multimedia media format whenever is possible. “We hope that things will change and we will be back to our country. But our immediate plan is to ensure the physical security of our staff members. Let’s keep the spirit of freedom alive.”

  1. aha!
    | #1

    It is a pity to hear this type of crack dow on press media, when negotiations are under way with 8-point plus 6 more precondions. It is hard to fathom what the hell is going on in Ethiopia.

  2. ደምስ
    | #2

    Dictator melese is in a panic mode right now, and he is not going to take any chances. He is not going to be humilated by Ethiopian people like last election.

    Dictator is trying to figure out how to put MEDREK to Kaliti. He will find some thing and put them jail.

    It is not amazing the kehadi engineer hailu does not say any thing when he witnessing the dictator abuse towards the journalists. He should be in Kaliti prison, not Birtukan.

  3. yilma
    | #3

    Ethiopian journalists have been victimized by the Woyane regime since the day they walked into Addis. They have been murdered by TPLF security, their property confisicated, hunted down like animals, jailed and beaten by psychotic guards, abused by hired judges and their sick prosecutors. They have managed to keep on serving despite the relentless war waged on them. They have been intimidated and forced into exile, followed and threatened even after they left their home land. All this is done to them because they just happen to exercise their right to inform. The Ethiopian people have shown their solidarity by purchasing their papers despite the high price imposed by Woyane to make it beyond the reach of the poor citizen. Our heroes are in the forefront of the struggle of our people for freedom and democracy. We in the diaspora should support our journalists in contributing funds to help them set up in their new life. We should publicize their plight every time we have an opportunity. Being sad and upset is not enough, we should take the next step of acting on our belief. Please contact the editors of EMF(ethio media forum) to get information how to work together with our journalist to build a new Ethiopia.

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    The silencing of ADDIS NEGER must roundly be denounced by all.

    In particular,Medrek should condemn such repressive move in the strongest possible terms.
    The recognition it was recently awarded by the regime to contend in the election as a legal entity should not lull Medrek from protesting the undue criminalization and crackdown against what is seen by many as the last remnant of the independent press.

    Medrek should not fall for the trap of the regime that gives a stay of execution for one while it is ‘finishing’ the other.

    If,today,it is ADDIS NEGER’s turn to go under the TPLF’S guillotine,it is Medrek’s tomorrow.

    The assassin’s hatchet does not spare anyone.

  5. Abebe
    | #5

    You are absolutely right Aha! who posted earlier.
    May be Enginer Hailu will be of help here. How about looking in to the other journalists case, people like the editors and publishers of Minilik?
    While he and the Mead leadership are at it they may be able to ask for Birtukan’s freedom. But, wait a minute. All these people do not belong to the Mead party.
    Sorry folks. According to the agreement that was signed between the 65 parties, the signatory parties can only ask for the release of their OWN MEMBERS held by the other parties, EPRDF and the others others, that presumably includes mead.
    We will wait and see.

    | #6

    IDO NO WHY ኤጥሕ

  7. lovers of addis neger
    | #7

    the founder of addis neger is very young. they shoud protect themselves that’s why thy left z countery. i dont belive in sacrifies we lost Birtukan and we don’t went to loss addis neger founders……….they are very samrt so how coud smart people deal with EPRDF….

  8. monu
    | #8

    I am two years old i want to learn i ask my dad he told me you need to watch ethiopian oposition website.I was so frastrated this are old people how can comminicat with people not my age .He told me that they are kids. when i ask him why. they thing they will get power simple. but they are helping weyane regime. by showing oposition by western observers, stumlate the poor ethiopian people, teach the young generation bad calture

  9. Joshua melaku
    | #9

    I remember when Professor Mesfin once said politics in Ethiopia is Dead,when the chairman of UDJP arrested last December.The dictator and brutal ruling party has showed it’s senseless action towards the Ethiopian people.Addis Neger is one of the victims of this brutal party.Today there is no free press and no free speech.No Matter how hard would it be,we will never give up on fighting the brutality and bring the principles of Democracy. LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA !!!!!!!!!!

  10. Sew
    | #10

    Monu #8
    I don’t understand your message.Is it about English? Why worry? I have a word of encouragement.It is not your mother tongue.You learn it as you go along.You are bound to improve and be proficient in it.Mind you have plenty time ahead of you.You are only two!!!On the other hand,there are others among us who use the language superbly to the envy of native writers.But again that is an incidental point.The main thing is that political messages are being conveyed that effectively expose the corrupt and tyrannical rule of TPLF which our people loath.
    I wonder if it was the message rather than the language that you have problem with.In that case,are you one of those TPLF toddler cadres??
    If so,your learning task should not be confined to the language.You must also learn about the truth of the brutal regime in all the messages posted on these websites.TPLF may pay take care of your pecuniary benefits for your services but the truth and the truth alone shall set you free.When you attend to the call of the truth and eventually join us,we will then greet you saying,

    ‘Welcome to the fraternity and sorority of the free!’

  11. Reader
    | #11

    Winners never quit, quitters never win!

    Editors of Addis Neger
    You were widely read
    in Addis and most other towns
    best of the papers
    it was said!

    You were read by the elites
    You were read by the youth
    You were read by the old
    The paper was in everyone’s fold!

    You were the opnion leaders
    Your popularity was growing
    you were reaping what you were sowing!

    Suddenly, yes suddenly
    You left the scene
    Your paper not to be seen
    Your popularity to vanish
    To be forgotten like a dead fish!

    Your strength was in the fight
    for what you think was right
    Your tool was mightier than a sword
    To leave it unused, you cann’t afford!

    Why did you catch the tiger by its tail,
    If you were that weak and flail?
    Why did you start it?
    So soon, if you were to quit?!

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