By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The harassment and detention of media professionals in Ethiopia has become a concerning issue, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said. Commissioner of EHRC, Daniel Bekele said in a speech he made last week on the celebration of World Press Freedom Day that the harassment and arrest of the media professionals have become a big concern.
Expressing the trouble the press freedom is facing, the commissioner said that at least eight journalists have currently been thrown behind bars.
Chairman of the Ethiopian Mass Media Council, Amare Aregawi said on his part that to establish freedom of expression on a firm foundation, the government will have to shoulder its constitutional duties.
Indicating press freedom as the basis for the respect of human rights, the Commissioner said that the improvement witnessed four years back is gradually turning into a risk.
Though the revised media proclamation was taken as a remarkable change, several gaps have still been witnessed in the sector, the Commissioner said.
Expressing concern about the serious attack being carried out on press freedom in Ethiopia, Amnesty International disclosed that 29 journalists were imprisoned in 2022.
While observing the World Press Freedom Day last Wednesday, Amnesty International, which released a joint statement with a South African Media Institution, raised the charges pressed against five journalists by Tigray officials on the allegation of “collaboration with the enemy” in 2022.
Amnesty said in its statement that the attacks on journalists and press freedom by officials in the entire Eastern and Southern African countries to conceal corruption and violation of human rights have been aggravated.
The World Press Freedom Day, which was observed world-wide on last Wednesday 03 May 2023, was also marked by the Ethiopian Mass Media Council in collaboration with UNESCO at Enter Luxury Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, the Press Freedom Index, which was released recently by Reporters without Borders, indicated that the status of press freedom in Ethiopia has declined. The 2022 Press Freedom index ranked Ethiopia 114th out of 180 countries. In 2023 the country was demoted to the rank of 130th out of 180 countries, according to the Index.
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