World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Ethiopia, 27 June 2012

Protest Campaign - Ethiopia, 27 June 2012

Article ID:


H.E. Meles Zenawi

P.O.Box 1031

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Via Fax: 2511-55-20-20

RE: Charges against Eskinder Nega

Vienna, June 26, 2012

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF), which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, and the International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 110 countries, to express our concern over the prosecution of Eskinder Nega.

Eskinder Nega, an online writer and critic of the current Ethiopian government, was arrested in September 2011 and according to reports, was accused of supporting terrorism, for which he could face the death penalty if convicted. He was jailed shortly after having criticized the government’s use of anti-terrorism laws to jail other journalists and opposition figures.

The verdict in the trial against Nega and 22 other people charged with terrorism has been postponed to June 27.

WAN-IFRA and IPI, alongside with many other human rights and journalists organisations, have repeatedly condemned Nega’s imprisonment and the charges brought against him, as they are in violation of the fundamental right to press freedom as enshrined in international law and the Ethiopian Constitution.

The “Vienna Declaration on Terrorism, Media and the Law” issued in 2009 at a meeting that brought together journalists, state representatives and other experts to discuss anti-terrorism laws and their implications for the media, notes that:

“Policies and laws adopted with a view to combating terrorism should be consistent with international and constitutional standards, including guarantees of freedom of expression and of the media. In this regard, the notion of national security should not be abused to protect the government, powerful interests or particular ideologies, or to prevent the exposure of wrongdoing or incompetence.”

In line with the above, we call on you to do everything in your power to ensure that the charges against Eskinder Nega and other journalists detained in connection with their writings are immediately dropped, so the journalists can be released unconditionally.

We believe that this would send a strong signal that the Ethiopian government does not intend to use anti-terrorism laws beyond their legitimate purpose and to limit press freedom.

As the world’s attention turns to Ethiopia ahead of Eskinder Nega’s expected verdict tomorrow, we call on you to use this moment to affirm your commitment to the rule of law and freedom of the press.

Yours Respectfully,

Alison Bethel McKenzie

Executive Director International Press Institute (IPI)


Jacob Mathew

President World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager

President World Editors Forum



Farah Wael's picture

Farah Wael


2012-06-27 12:26

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...