Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The New York-based press freedom watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Friday condemned the harsh prison sentences issued by Ethiopia’s High Court on blogger Eskinder Nega and five independent journalists
In a CPJ statement, the press freedom watchdog said "the court's verdict was on a vague and politically-motivated terrorism charges.
"As Ethiopia hosts the African Union Summit, where regional leaders discuss important security challenges, the Ethiopian government is using the fight against terrorism as a cover to silence peaceful voices of dissent,” CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita, remarked.
“This sentence makes clear that Ethiopia’s growth and stability are dependent on an iron fist from a leadership intolerant of critical reporting or journalists seeking public accountability,” he added.
According to CPJ, since 2011, the government of Ethiopia has convicted 11 independent journalists and bloggers under a sweeping anti-terrorism law.
Eskinder Nega is said to have been jailed in Ethiopia since September 2011, while the other defendants are living in exile.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 13July2012