Press Release: Freedom of expression still in peril – Former Prisoners of Conscience

November 8th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Two years have now elapsed since the clampdown of Ethiopia’s once vibrant independent press. (more…)

Two years have now elapsed since the clampdown of Ethiopia’s once vibrant independent press. However, in accordance with the public pronouncements of the government that it is finally prepared to untangle this shame on our nation, and as per the decrees of the constitution and press law, we, three journalists imprisoned in connection with the post election crises, have submitted legal petitions for press licenses.

Having established new publishing houses, Medrek PLC and Senae PLC, and fulfilled all the legal requirements, the processing and approval of our applications for two new newspapers,Lualawi and Habesha, should have taken no more than a few hours.

Yet, we were told that our case warrants special consideration, and a promise was given to us that a decision would be made by October 25 2000.But it was not to be. Yet another appointment for November 1 2000 was given to us after being told that the head of the licensing department, Ato Zemedkun Tekle, would confer with us and review our case in person.

On the day of the appointment, however, two calls were placed to us by officials of the Ministry of Information and told that the appointment with the department head had been cancelled. We were also informed that the decision will be conveyed to us over the telephone, and despite our pleas to the contrary they obdurately refused to specify when the decision will be made.

Refusing to give up, we went to MI on two subsequent dates, but on both instances we were denied the licenses that are our due by right and law of the land, pending a formal decision by unspecified officials. It should be noted that in all our encounters with officials of the government, there was lucid admission that no legal barrier stands in the way of our press licenses.

The refusal of the government to issue us licenses should be considered from the perspective of the local elections that are scheduled to be held this year. A free and fair election is not possible without the presence of a fiercely independent and responsible press serving as watchdog. In addition, the promise by the government that the full democratic rights of all those imprisoned in connection with the post election crises is now in serious jeopardy.

We thus call on all interested parties to plead with the Ethiopian government to uphold the dictates of the Ethiopian constitution and press law as regards the right of freedom of expression.

Sisay Agena
Publisher,Medrek PLC
Former publisher of Ethiop and Abay newspapers

Serkalem Fasil
Co-Publisher, Senae PLC
Former publisher of Menelik,Asqual and Satenaw newspapers

Eskinder Nega

Co-Publisher, Senae PLC

  1. | #1

    meles sold his soldiers, look what going on in somalia.
    Somalia: two Ethiopian soldiers and one civilian died in a hot combat in Mogadishu

    Mogadishu 08, Nov.07 ( Sh.M.Network)- Three people including two Ethiopian troops and one civilian died and seven others wounded in a very horrible fight between the Ethiopian troops and those opposing their presence. The skirmish started in the early hours of today at some parts of the animals market in Hiliwa district in Mogadishu.

    In this immense confrontation both sides used different sorts of weapons such as: rocket propels grenade, heavy machine guns, and a like. This fight stopped at 11:30 when the Ethiopians troops withdrawal from the animals market.

    The confrontation came when Ethiopian troops from two different bases that is Maslah in the fringes of the animals market and the former spaghetti plant entered some sections of the animals market. When they did so the come across stong resistance.

    Some eyewitnesses confirmed for radio Shabelle that two Ethiopian soldiers died on of the Ethiopian soldier’s body is yet laying at the street where by hundreds of people are watching and dragging.

    The Ethiopian soldiers returned to their bases of Maslah and Ex- spaghetti plant.

    Mogadishu is experiencing frequent attacks and combat days these days there is also frequent internal displacements as well.

    Shabelle Media Network Somalia
    E-mail us:

  2. Tigist
    | #2

    Here they are another courageous Ethiopians. They are rising up once again! My heart is full of love and respect for them.


  3. Chaltu D. U.
    | #3

    I just listened to the statement of Debebe Eshtu on the Logo of CUDP/ Kinijit. The guy is really a dense human being who really does not seem to understand that once he gave something away he is no longer the owner. He may have designed the Logo but it became CUDP/Kinijit’s and the publics property when he started using it to introduce KINIJIT. It is a symbol of KINIJIT of which he is supposedly a member, he has forfeited rights to it therfore not his anymore. He was the one by his statement who freely and willingly used it to promote CUDP/Kinijit, and sent all around to office in Ethiopia and to the Diaspora. The day he did that he gifted it to the organization. So Dedebe you gave you your rights up to the Logo the day you started sending materials for promotion of CUDP with that Logo.

    It is sad to listen to such a person who has a delusion of grandeur yet with very low self esteem, and it is sad that CUDP/Kinijit allowed such a low life to be part of the organization. The man seems to be steeped in the gutter of Teje Bete of Addis. He thinks “Ye Arade Tereba” is politics but does not even known the first thing about respect and addressing people by their titles such as calling Shalequa Yosef – Ato Yosef or Dr. Taye – Ato Taye, but what could one expect of a low life who has been hustling for tidbits all his life. The sad thing is that Kinijit should have been a beacon to him to empower him to stop the hustle but you can not teach an old do new tricks.

    By the way why is he consumed by Dr. Taye who was not in Kinijit at the time of the Logo patent and has nothing to do with it. It shows how this group is really threatened by Dr. Taye and his patriotic contribution to the country. It was an embarssement to hear Dedebe calling Dr. Taye names in Calgary and for the vice chairwomen to chime a saying made popular by the PM Melese- one wonders how much of their souls that these people have sold?

    It would be interesting to see his law suite in the US as he seems to believe he can go for one. I guess the money raised on the US tour will be used for this farce. To his advisors and managers of this ridiculous charade I would sincerely advise you not to waste the peoples money on an winnable game of ego. Any lawyer will take the case and make money and turn and tell you we tried. There is Nothing to win and tell your buffoon yes America maybe the land bread and honey, but their is the rule of law – of which he seems not to be aware off.

    The war is back home, you seem to be confused who you should be fighting…

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