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News: 12 Journalists arrested in two days ; media authority unaware of the arrests; Fed. police says arrests linked to association with terrorist organization

Bekalu Alamirew of Awlo Media (Left), Abebe Bayu of Ethio Forum (Right)
Photo: Social Media, Ethio Forum

By Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb  & Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, July 02/2021- Addis Standard learned that 12 journalists at two online media platforms were arrested in the last two days. The lawyer, Tadele Gebre, told Addis Standard that the 10 journalists, a cameraman alongside Five members of the Awlo media staff, were arrested by federal police. Tadele also disclosed that Two journalists, Abebe Bayu and Yayesew Shimeles from Ethio-Forum, a Youtube based news outlet were also arrested.

Tadele said, “I was prevented from talking to my clients.” He also added that his attempts to get further explanations from the Federal police headquarter office were unsuccessful. “I was told that the detainees have not yet been out under investigation.” 

He continued explaining today’s developments by saying, “I went to the police station to see my clients but I was told that they were taken to Arada first instance court,” adding, “I went there but they were not there either.”

Among the journalists who were arrested this week, Bekalu Alamirew of Awlo media and Yayesew Shimeles of Ethio Forum were previously arrested at different times then released on bail. According to CPJ, Abebe Bayu, a reporter at the YouTube-based news outlet Ethio Forum was ‘assaulted and abducted by armed men.” 

Ethio Forum has not posted on its channel since June 21, and on June 24 explained to its viewers that the outlet was temporarily forced to cease broadcasting. Awlo media last posted on its facebook page on June 30. 

Federal Police Commission communication bureau head Jeylan Abdi, told Addis Standard  “The journalists were not arrested because of their profession but rather due to their affiliation with a terrorist group which is banned by the parliament.” Jelan said, and explained that their case is currently under investigation.  On the other hand, Yonathan Tsefaye, the deputy director general of Ethiopian Media Authority, told Addis Standard that the authority is not aware of the arrests. “We have talked to stakeholders and could not confirm the arrests,” Yonathan said, and reminded that the issues related to law enforcement should be referred to the concerned bodies. AS

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