#ASDailyScoop: CPJ urges Ethiopian authorities to release detained journalists amidst growing concerns

Journalists Tewodros Zerfu (left) and Nigussie Berhanu engage in a discussion on a Yegna TV program aired on 16 August, 2023, about the recently declared state of emergency in the Amhara region

Addis Abeba – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Ethiopian authorities to immediately release three journalists who were detained in late August and early September. The CPJ expressed serious concerns about the growing trend of detaining journalists during an ongoing state of emergency.

Tewodros Zerfu, a presenter and program host for the online media platforms Yegna TV and Menelik Television, was apprehended by police on 26 August , 2023, while Nigussie Berhanu, a political analyst and co-host of “Yegna Forum,” a biweekly political show on Yegna TV, was arrested on 30 August, 2023.

Yehualashet Zerihun, the program director of the privately owned station Tirita 97.6 FM, was arrested by federal police on 11 September, 2023. His wife, Meron, shared with the CPJ via messaging app that she has not been given any specific reason for his arrest.

Initially, the three journalists were detained at the Federal Police Crime Investigation Center in Addis Abeba, according to the CPJ. However, they have now been transferred to a temporary detention center at a military base in Awash Arba, which is located 145 kilometers east of the capital. Sources have stated that there is no information about the journalists being presented in court or formally charged with any crime.

Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s Sub-Saharan Africa representative, expressed deep concern, stating, “The detention of journalists at a military camp with unclear judicial oversight is an alarming indication of how little regard Ethiopia has for the media.” AS

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