Africans Must Speak Up for Journalist Jailed in Ethiopia

Eskinder Mega. (Photograph: Pen International)

The Guardian

By Zakes Mda in Johannesburg

The award-winning Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega will turn 45 this month in Kaliti prison outside Addis Ababa whilst serving an 18-year sentence as a convicted terrorist. The government in Addis would have the world believe he is a reckless, even racist, agitator bent on violent revolution. Yet, a review of the evidence against him and his writings reveals a thoughtful and principled man whose only crime has been to urge, peacefully and publicly, Ethiopia’s rulers to deliver on their long broken promise of peaceful, democratic reform.

“Democracy is so important to Ethiopia, because we need it to moderate the differences between civilization and civilization,” Eskinder said in a 2010 interview. “I hope the EPRDF (the ruling party) will be pragmatic enough to realise reform would be the better option, even for itself,” he added. “I believe in forgiving… that we shouldn’t have any grudge against the EPRDF, despite what it has done. I believe that the best thing for the country is reconciliation. I believe in the South African experience, that model.”

Read more at The Guardian Africa Network.

Audio: Eskinder Nega’s exiled wife Serkalem Fasil’s last letter to her husband (Ethiomedia)
Two Ethio-Mihdar journalists arrested for reporting on corruption (CPJ)
Addis to Host African Media Leaders Forum (All Africa)
Africa’s Journalists Honor Jailed Ethiopian Editor Woubshet Taye (CNN Photos)
The Challenges of Independent Media In Ethiopia: Tadias Interview With Ron Singer

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