US ‘concerned’ over closure of Ethiopian paper

Above: Tamerat Negera, pictured here in his former office in
Addis Ababa, was the editor-in-chief of Addis Neger, a weekly
newspaper in Ethiopia that has closed following a campaign of
intimidation and harassment. The Editor has since left Ethiopia.


ADDIS ABABA — The United States said Thursday it was concerned over the closure of a leading Ethiopian newspaper which said last week it had ceased publication following “months of government harassment”. Addis Neger, an Addis Ababa-based weekly often critical of government policies, had also announced that its staff had fled the country for fear of arrest. “The United States considers a vibrant and independent media to be one of the pillars of a strong democracy,” the US embassy here said in a statement. “As such, we are concerned about the recent closure of the Addis Neger newspaper, and the allegations of harassment and intimidation of private media,” it added.

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One of Ethiopia’s best-read non-government weekly newspapers has shut down and three of its senior staff have fled the country. The editors of Addis Neger say they have faced a government campaign of intimidation and black propaganda. The closure of the Amharic-language newspaper, known for its lively discussion of political issues, comes as campaigning heats up in advance of next May’s parliamentary election. Read more.

1 Response to “US ‘concerned’ over closure of Ethiopian paper”

  1. 1 Meles Mengistu Dec 18th, 2009 at 8:38 am

    There is a an Ethiopian saying in Tigrina: “Do tell him to go, but make him go” (Hid atibelew enndihed adrigew enji”). That was done on Addis Neger journalists. The government has no tangible reason to accuse them. So, they prefer to force them out of the country. I do not think the coming election will be reputable without the presence of such free media like Addis Neger. What was also surprising is that the government owned TV and radio stations have opened a propaganda campaign filled with hatred against the editors even after they left the country.

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