Woyanne law forces journalists to reveal sources – ADDIS ABABA (AFP)

February 6th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s new anti-terror law strips journalists of the right to protect the identity of their sources, a top official said in a statement carried Saturday by the national news agency ENA.

“The anti-terrorism law revoked the rights of journalists not to disclose their information sources when they report on terrorism,” the agency quoted State Minister for Communication Shimeles Kemal as saying.

“The new law revoked this right taking into consideration the magnitude of disasters caused by terrorism,” he added.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, only one other African country has jailed more journalists than Ethiopia and only last week it imprisoned a columnist for criticising the prime minister.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch voiced concern before the bill was passed last year that some of its provisions were targeted at the nation’s media.

“A journalist interviewing an opposition politician or a supporter of an armed opposition group could be deemed to be ‘encouraging’ terrorism merely by publicising the views of the interviewee,” it said.

The Ethiopian government describes as terrorism the rebellions it has been trying to stamp out for years in the Oromo and Ogaden regions.

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