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#ASDailyScoop: US, CPJ join growing concerns over Ethiopia latest crackdown against journalists, community activists

Left: Meskerem Abera, founder and owner of “Ethio Nikat“, a YouTube based media, and Solomon Shumye, the founder and owner of private broadcaster Gebeyanu Media. Picture: Screenshot/AS

Addis Abeba – The United States government and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday 24 May joined growing concerns over latest security crackdown against journalists, commentators and activists critical of the Ethiopian government, which saw at least a dozen of them placed under police custody in a span of three days.

In a message posted on social media via its embassy in Addis Abeba, the US government said it was “concerned about reports of recent mass arrests of journalists and community activists in Ethiopia” and that it “echoes” earlier call made by Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) “for federal and state security forces to adhere to due process and rule of law.”

Similarly, the global media watchdog CPJ detailed the arrests and called on the Ethiopian authorities to “immediately release all recently arrested journalists and media workers and ensure that authorities cease harassing members of the press.”

On Monday 23 May, Amhara Regional State Peace and Security Bureau chief, Desalegn Tassew, said some 4,552 suspects have been arrested in connection with the ongoing “rule of law operation” in the region since a week ago. The news has raised alarms among rights groups, including EHRC.

Daniel Bekele, Chief Commissioner of EHRC, said that the rights body was aware of the steps that the government can take to enforce law and order in various parts of the country, but “such arrests are not in line with the principles of human rights and are not appropriate.” AS

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