Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The global press freedom body, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Wednesday issued a statement saying "Ethiopia's new printing directive equals to censorship."
According to a CPJ statement, Ethiopia's state-owned printing company, Barhanena Selam, had directed newspaper publishers to censor any content that may draw government prosecution under the country's anti-terrorism law or face cancellation of their printing contracts.
"This directive, coming from a state-owned company, is an effort to codify pre-publication censorship under the repressive terms of Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law, which the United Nations has criticized for its excessive scope," CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said.
"This directive must be rescinded immediately."
Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law criminalizes independent reporting on opposition groups or causes that the government deems terrorist and holds printers, as well as publishers, accountable for material that "promotes terrorism."
Barhanena Selam said it would require all newspaper publishers to agree to the new terms before further publications would be printed.
CPJ Further disclosed that 13 publishers had jointly protested the directive, claiming 'it contravenes Article 29 of Ethiopia's Constitution and the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information law.'
Meanwhile, the Press freedom body also alleged that Ethiopia was the second leading jailer of journalists in Africa, with seven journalists imprisoned on terrorism-related charges.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 10May2012