Jailed Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega honoured (BBC)

May 2nd, 2012 Print Print Email Email

An imprisoned Ethiopian journalist and blogger has been given a prestigious freedom of expression award.

Eskinder Nega was awarded the Pen America’s “Freedom to Write” annual prize for publishing articles critical of Ethiopia’s human rights record. (more…)

An imprisoned Ethiopian journalist and blogger has been given a prestigious freedom of expression award.

Eskinder Nega was awarded the Pen America’s “Freedom to Write” annual prize for publishing articles critical of Ethiopia’s human rights record.

His wife Serkalem Fasil, who is a journalist and also spent time in jail, received the award on his behalf.

In the past decade, more journalists have fled Ethiopia than any other country, press freedom groups say.

‘Withering conditions’
“I accept this award on behalf of Eskinder Nega at a time when freedom of expression and press freedom are at the lowest in Ethiopia,” Ms Serkalem said on Tuesday night in a ceremony in New York.

“If Eskinder were standing here, he’d accept this award, not just as a personal honour, but on behalf of all Ethiopian journalists who toil under withering conditions today: Those who went into exile over the years… those in prison with whom he now resides,” she said.

Mr Eskinder has been in Maekelawi prison in the capital, Addis Ababa, since his arrest in September last year.

He was found guilty in January under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism laws – which criminalise commentary that is critical of the government – and could face the death penalty when he is sentenced.

He had published a column questioning the government’s claim that a number of journalists it had detained were suspected terrorists, and for criticising the arrest of well-known Ethiopian actor and government critic Debebe Eshetu.

Mr Eskinder is “that bravest and most admirable of writers, one who picked up his pen to write things that he knew would surely put him at grave risk”, said Peter Godwin, president of the Pen American Center.

“Yet he did so nonetheless. And indeed he fell victim to exactly the measures he was highlighting,” Zimbabwean-born writer Mr Godwin added.

The Pen award is given to writers who have been persecuted or imprisoned for exercising the right to freedom of expression.

Mr Eskinder opened his first newspaper in 1993, and has been detained at least seven times by the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

He was stripped of his licence to work as a journalist in 2005, but continued to write for the US-based news forum EthioMedia, which is banned in Ethiopia.

He and his wife Ms Serkalem were both jailed in 2005 for criticising the government’s violent crackdown of protests following disputed elections.

During their 17 months in prison, Ms Fasil gave birth to their son.

  1. Abiy Ethiopiawe SegawiWe-Menfesawe
    | #1

    ይስተካከል እላለሁ የታሰሩ ሕፃን እስክንድርን ጨምሮ ሦስት ናቸው ብዬ ነበር::
    እንኳን ሁላችንም ደስ አለን ለድካሙ በሙያው ፍሬ በማግኘቱ::

  2. Long live Ethoipia
    | #2

    Eskinder Nega optimize the essence of what human-beings should stand for and against. He is an Ethipian by birth but his principles do resonate across ages becuse what he is fighting for is for Justice and Equality and human dignity that should not be taken or given to any human bing. Give me libriety or Give me death mean something to some people. For Eskinder Nega it means everything and willing to pay whatever comes his way. If there is a definition of bravery, the name Eskinder Nega says it all. He stands against to what Meles stands for — is it St Augstin that said that in this world there is only a war between evil and good. and Good always wins.

  3. ethio
    | #3

    ኢትዮፒያ እንደ እስክንድር ሰርካለም ብርቱካን ታማኝ እና እጅግ ብዙ ቆራጥ የሆኑ አገር ወዳድ ጀግኖች ልጆችዋ ተክብራ ትኖራለች
    እንጅ በጥቂት ጭንጋፍና ከሃዲያን አፍራ አትቀርም ::

  4. iueae
    | #4

    US is insanely unjust! The US government is supporting the Meles brutal government which gave brevity for Meles to Kill the Ethiopian citizen. We don’t ask the American people to stop Meles’ brutality, which we are responsible to do it, but we plead you at least to stop supporting his regime.

  5. iueae
    | #5

    @Abiy Ethiopiawe SegawiWe-Menfesawe
    እንኩአን አብሮ ደስ ያለን!!!

  6. Tedla Asfaw
    | #6

    I thank all who participated on the May Day Celebration in NYC. We could not go to the hedge fund managers as we supposed to do hopefully we will do it next year. On the eve of the May Day Celebration in Village I was with Sam and told the packed crowd that Ethiopian farmers and indigenous people need their support to stop Land Grab !!!

    Unfortunately we could not join Serkalem Fassil at Metropolitan Museum as Tadesse suggested because of the coincidence of May Day Rally. I will forward this note to her that Eskinder Nega is her husband, a father and a Brave Son of Ethiopia who challenged Woyane as well as the rest of us to stand for freedom of expression and assembly no matter what. He paid dearly for that and that was reconginzed by the PEN Award his wife received on his behalf.

    If Eskinder Nega stand tall facing his tormentors on face how comes those of us from distance “Woyanene Eneferalene ” ? Let us be a fraction of Eskinder Nega if we can not match his courage !!! Annuak in Gambella, Muslims in Addis Ababa, Muslims in Arsi and Waldeba Monastery surrounding Ethiopians in Gonder are revolting. It is time to stand with them right in front of Woyane’s Mission in NYC. We will be there soon !!!!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/occupy-wall-street-day-protests-start-slow-york-city-article-1.1070441

    Thanks,

    Tedla Asfaw

  7. ETHIO
    | #7

    God Bless Eskinder Nega
    God Bless Ethiopia

  8. Tgadalit Adanhoum
    | #8

    This is truly a victory for all Ethiopians who hate viscerally the Tigryan leadership run by Meles Zenawi. Eskinder,Serkalem and the two childern galavanize at this point Ethiopia’s lack of basic human rights and freedom to the world at large.

  9. Dawi
    | #9

    [[..በጥቂት ጭንጋፍና ከሃዲያን አፍራ አትቀርም..]]

    As we celebrate Eskinder’s prestigious freedom of expression award from Pen America’s “Freedom to Write” let us not lose sight of the Dictator’s coming half way by recognizing the right of the beautiful Sirkalem’s right to travel outside the country.

    Such recognition softens the extremists from both sides. And maybe we do orderly transition of country towards a democratized political order.

    That is the only way to stop the ethnic and religious fanatics from taking over our country’s secular character.

  10. Girum
    | #10

    እስክንድር በመሸለሙ እጅግ ሲባዛ ደስተኛ ነኝ፡፡በእርግጥም ይገባዋል ይህም ያንስበታል፡፡
    ነገር ግን የትግላችን እና የመስዋእትነታችንን ስኬት የምንለካው በምንድን ነው የሚለው እጅግ ሊሰመርበት የሚገባ ነገር ነው፡፡ለእኔ የፕሬስ ዋና ተቀዳሚ ትልቅ ትርጉም አንድን ማህበረሰብ ወይንም ትውልድ ንቃተ-ህሊና በማዳበርና በማነፅ መቀየርና ተጨባጭ ተግባራዊ ለውጥና እርምጃ ለማምጣት ሲችል ብቻ ነው፡፡ከዚያ ውጪ ያለው አሁን እንደምናደርገው ያለ በፕሬስ ላይ በመሞጫጨር መለፍለፍ መታሰር መለቀቅ መሸለም በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ያለ ነገር ነው፡፡ስለዚህም የእንደነ እስክንድር አይነት መንፈሰ ጠንካራ ሰዎች ትግልና መስዋእትነት በከንቱ ውዳሴ ተወስኖ እንዳይቀር እጅግ ከፍተኛ ጥንቃቄ መደረግ አለበት፡፡አንድ አባባል አለ ይህም “Success is sometimes the way you present and interpret it.”ከዚህ በመነጨም “የፕሬስ ላይ ትግል የመጨረሻው አላማና ግቡ ምንድን ነው?” የሚለውን በጥሞናና በማስተዋል መረዳት አለብን፡፡አዎ የእስክንድርና ሌሎችም ተመሳሳይ ሰዎች የፕሬስ ላይ ትግል ይህንን የ PEN ወይንም ሌላ አይነት ሽልማት በማግኘት ላይ የተወሰነ የመጨረሻ ግብ እንደማያደርግ ተስፋ አደርጋለሁኝ፡፡ሽልማት ሲሰጠንም ዋና የታለመለት አንደምታው ወይንም አላማው ምንድን ነው የሚለውንም መረዳት አለብን፡፡ማለትም የሽልማቱ ዋና አላማ እኛንና እኛን የሚከተለንና የሚደግፈንን ማህበረሰብ የተነሳንለትን ዋና አላማችንን ተልእኮ ያሳካን እንደሆነ አድርጎ በተሳሳተ መንገድ በመሳል ከእውነተኛ ትግላችንና ግባችን የሚያዘናጋ ነው ወይንስ በትክክልም እኛን ለበለጠ ትግል የሚያበረታታን ነው የሚለውን በቅጡ በማስተዋል መረዳት አለብን፡፡በዘመነ ግሎባል ካፒታሊዝም ትግላችን እጅግ የረቀቀና የተወሳሰበ እንደሆነ መረዳት አለብን፡፡ይህ አይነት ሽልማትም ሲሰጥ እስክንድርንና ሌሎችንም የበለጠ ለእውነት ለፍትህና ለነፃነት ተግተው እንዲሰሩ የሚያበረታታ እንጂ የመጨረሻ አላማቸውን እንዳሳኩ አድርገው በመገመት በከንቱ ውዳሴ እንዲዘናጉ የሚያደርግ እንደማይሆን ተስፋ አደርጋለሁኝ፡መለስና ወያኔ የኢትዮጵያን ህዝብ ከእውነተኛው አንገብጋቢ ችግርና ትግል ያዘናጉበት አንዱ ዋና ስልት ሰዎችን በማሰርና በመፍታት ላይ በሚያቀነቅን አካሄድ ላይ ተጠምደን አስተሳሰባችንን ሁሉ በዚያ ጠባብ እይታ ላይ እንድናደርግ በማድረግ ሌላውን ዋና ወሳኝ አጀንዳ ችላ እንድንል በማድረግ ነው፡፡ለዚህም ነው ከላይ ያለውን አንድ አባባል “Success is sometimes the way you present and interpret it.” ለመጥቀስ የተገደድኩት፡፡ሰለዚህም እስክንድር ነጋ እየተሸለመ ያለው በዋናነት በመታሰሩ ምክንያት እንደሆነ ብቻ አድርገን የምናይ ከሆነ እይታችን የተዛባ ሊሆን ነው ማለት ነው፡፡አዎ ብርቱካንም ከዚህ በፊት ታስራ ስለተፈታች ብቻ ከፍተኛ የፖለቲካና የሰብዓዊ መብት ታጋይ(Political Activist) ተብላ በምእራቡ አለም ተንቆለጳጵሳ እንደነበር እናውቃለን፡፡አዎ ዛሬ ብርቱካንም የት እንዳለች እናውቃለን፡፡ስለዚህም የሀገራችንን እና የህዝባችንን እጅግ ስር የሰደደ የተስፋፋና የተወሳሰበ ችግርና ከዚህም ጋር የተያያዘውን ፈታኝ ትግል በጥቂት ግለሰቦች መታሰር መፈታትና ለዚህም በመሸለም ዙሪያ ያለ ጠባብ አዙሪት ውስጥ ብቻ ታጥረን ዋናውን ወሳኙን ትልቁንና ሰፊውን አጀንዳ ችላ እንዳንለው ከፍተኛ ጥንቃቄ ማድረግ አለብን፡፡በዘመነ ግሎባል ካፒታሊዝም በራሱ በግሎባል ካፒታሊዝም በረቀቀና በተቀነባበረ መንገድ የሚረዱት መለስ ጥቃቅን አትኩሮትን የሚስቡ አጀንዳዎችን እየፈጠሩ ሰዎችን በዚያ ዙሪያ አእምሯቸውን ማስያዝ ማደናገርና ሰዎች ዋናውን መሰረታዊ ችግርና የዚህንም ዋና መንስኤ እንዳይረዱት ማምታታት እጅግ የተካኑበት ስልት ነው፡፡ስለዚህም በአስሮ መፍታትና ከዚህም ጋር በተያያዙ ሽልማቶች እንዳንዘናጋ ጠንቀቅ እንበል እንደዚሁም እንደ እርግብ የዋህ እንደ እባብ ብልህ እንሁን እላለሁኝ፡፡የትግላችንን ዋና አለማ ተልእኮ ስኬት መለስንና ወያኔን በመተቸት በመታገልና ከዚያም በዚህ የተነሳ በመሰደድና በምእራብ ሀገራት ተቋሞች በመሸለም ዙሪያ ላይ በሚያቀነቅን ጠባብ አካሄድ እንዳንገድበው አደራ፡፡
    ትግላችንና መስዋእትነታችን ፍሬ አፍርቶ ኢትዮጵያና የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ከዘረኛው ከቅጥረኛው ከዘራፊው መለስና ወያኔ መዳፍና መንጋጋ ተላቀው እውነተኛ ነፃነትንና ፍትህን ስናይ ብቻ ነው በሽልማቶቻችን ልንኮራና ልንዘናጋ የሚገባው፡፡

  11. Ethiopian from Minnesota, U.S.A
    | #11

    @ethio
    ወንድም ወይም እህት, “እንጅ በጥቂት ጭንጋፍና ከሃዲያን አፍራ አትቀርም ::” የማይስፈልጉ የስድብ ወይም አስጼያፊ ቃላት መጤቀም አስፈላጊ አይመስለኝም:: ስንቃወም ፖሊሳቸውንና ስራቸውን እንጅ ማንነታቸውን መሆን የለበትም:: ጭንጋፍ የሚያሳየው ያለሳቱ የተወለደ ሰው እንጂ የፖለቲካ አመለካከት አይደለም:: ከሃዲያን ስንል አገሩን አሳልፎ የሰጤ ማለት ነው::በፖለቲካ ስላልተስማማን ከሃዲያን መባል አይቻልም:: ስለዚህ ውይይት ከሆነ መከባበር ይኖርብናል:: አቶ መለስን ወይም ተባባሪዎቻቸውን ጭንጋፍና ከሃዲያን ማለት አስፈላጊ አይደለም:: አመሰግናለሁ::

  12. Ethiopian from Minnesota, U.S.A
    | #12

    @Dawi
    It is a very recommendable thing by the dictator to come half way to let Serkalem to travel to New York to accept the prestigious award on the behalf of her imprisoned husband, THE COURAGEOUS ESKINDER NEGA. But, if it was a genuine willingness by the Emperor Dictator Meles to let this beautiful Srerkalem to travel to USA without his fear of being criticized by the international Press, it would be an admirable gesture. Dawi!Dawi! You know that he did not have any excuse not to let Serkalem to travel to USA. Otherwise the world would have known his antidemocratic governance, oppression of the freedom of press, oppression of freedom expression. It does not mean that the world has a high regard to him. The world knows that African Leaders are the most arrogant, cruel, tyrannic, and despotic. So ours is no different.

  13. treaty
    | #13

    Eskinder Nega and his wife Serkalm Fasil are, truly in the very sense of the word, patriotic and militant Ethiopians that personify the spirit of our for fathers.There is no doubt in my mind Birtukan Eskinder,and Serkalem and the many who are in jail are positive roll models for the rising generation of Ethiopians. Both husband and wife continue to oppose the regime’s repressive and racist policies,and both paid dearly for voicing their opinion. I am happy to see Eskinder becoming recipient of the ‘press freedom award’ from Pen America. I wish he was here in person to receive this award. Unfortunately, a t the present, he is languishing in TPLF dungeon. Until ,we in the diaspora,with amnesty international and rights group press to win the release of all Ethiopian journalists, I wish Eskinder and his courageous wife Serkalme, and their family members peace and prosperity.We in the diaspora must do our utmost press hard the TPLF regime to yield to our demands.
    Release all political prisoners now!
    Jail belongs to the criminals and perpetrators of fraud and not to journalists.
    Ethiopia will be free soon!

  14. DonkeyKilla
    | #14

    EskinTer Nega Ur our Hero Don’t Give up The Fight For our Right Keep it up. Ethiopia will be free Soon From Tigray

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