US urges Ethiopia to free jailed journalists

December 31st, 2015 Print Print Email Email

Washington (AFP) – The White House demanded that Ethiopia stop using its controversial anti-terror law to jail journalists Wednesday, in an unusually stark rebuke for a key US ally in Africa.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price did not name the reporters the United States is concerned for, but he spoke amid a harsh Ethiopian crackdown on dissent.

“We are deeply concerned by the recent arrests of other journalists in Ethiopia,” Price said.

“We urge the Ethiopian Government to release journalists and all others imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression,” he added.

The White House urged Ethiopia “to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to silence dissent and to protect the rights of journalists, bloggers, and dissidents to write and speak freely as voices of a diverse nation.”

On December 19, Human Rights Watch reported that Ethiopian security forces had killed at least 75 demonstrators with live fire during weeks of regional anti-government protests.

US President Barack Obama visited the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, in July, and Washington is seen as close to the government, headed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

But, while admiring Ethiopia’s strong economic growth and welcoming its role in peacekeeping missions, Washington has been cautious not to endorse its rights record.

In October, Washington welcomed the release of a previous group of dissident bloggers and journalists, but on Wednesday the White House warned Ethiopia against new arrests.

“The United States has consistently applauded Ethiopia for being a model and a voice for development in Africa,” price said.

“But such gains must rest on a foundation of democratic governance and respect for human rights if they are to be sustainable.”

  1. Aba Biya Warabadi
    | #1

    The USA is joking and playing double standard. The USA cries for Syrians, Iranians, and etc but not for Ethiopians whoo are suffering under a terrible beast, kanibals. Tplf is the house niggers of the USA therefore USA do not care about Ethiopians, but time shall come when the USA and other enemies realize what is going in Ethiopia.

  2. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #2

    I hope this clear clarion call from the US government does not fall on challenged ears. Journalists by the true definition of their profession are the eyes and ears of the over looked. They are the sounding board of all areas of the society. They will always report, report and report. And when they do things right like here in the USA, they will know what is news worthy and essential that the people at large and, when given, public officials should know. They travel to the most dangerous and farthest corners of the world getting news. They know when to self censor and when it is appropriate to publish the result of their work be it news or investigative in content. They are mostly opinionated and they should be. And when they are wrong, they will hear it from their own peers. Not the government necessarily. In a country like Ethiopia journalism is not a new profession. You name any ethnic group, there always have been a ‘talking bird’ among the people with ‘Read all about it’ attention grabbers. But they had never been treated democratically. Daring reporters never had the blessings from all rulers throughout our history. Such daring reporters had been dealt mercilessly including the clippings of their tongues. They were hanged, jailed or when they are lucky exiled to confinement in remote locations. But this the 21st century and no matter how authorities try to muffle up patriotic reporters, news will never cease to get out. Jailing is not the means or solution. Dialogue is the better way. We can take the US media and military during the two World Wars and the first Gulf War. The leaders of that country should heed this call and release all journalists they holding in jail for this or that reason and start a civilized dialogue. I hope prisoners like Obbo Eskinder will see sunlight outside the prison walls with their families soon. That has been in my daily prayers.

  3. dodo
    | #3

    USA is hypocrete as always. Where have they been all these years? Genocide on over 5 milliom Amaras; hundreds of thousands of annuks; displacement of millions etc. It was the racist President Clinton who refused to interfere in the Rwanda genocide. US has supported Pol Pot who eliminated half of the population of Cambodia … I do not need to go on. The whole world knows it.But eventually the chicken would return home to roost

  4. assefa
    | #4

    it is another void propaganda from a country that is now going down hill , and is bankrupt, under the influence of satanists, homosexuals, and all kinds of evil influeces. America has abandoned the philosophy it was founded on, the principles of freedom, democracy and justice and has lost its direction.

  5. Dirrfissfis
    | #5

    The patience the US has had for the mafias seems getting thinner and thinner with indication that the US has realised that it could anymore be fooled by the mafia regime knowing the ride on the road precipitates leading to abandoning the mafias to get entangled in their own twenty years of bluff and deceit.

    One way the other, the mafias have fully known that things are changing at the rapid speed than they realized their time is moving to where they get head on collision with their own fate.

  6. Dirrfissfis
    | #6

    It clearly is seen to the US that the Fascist Woyanai is on its way to its death. The US’s warning to the Fascist woyanai is timely, just, and accurate; however, it must be followed by cutting of all aids that helped the regime to survive and continued to suppress and oppress citizens by utilizing all sorts of tools and guns for the last two decades.

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