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Stand for Silenced Ethiopians: Ten Government Journalists Defected!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ten Government Journalists Defected!

More than ten government journalists had defected to the US, Europe and Asia fearing persecution, subsequent to refusing orders to produce false stories about opposition parties, source said.
According to sources, journalists of the government controlled media in Ethiopia, who refuse order from the authorities to misinform the public are threatened to death.
Escaped journalists say the general manger of the government Press Agency, Kefyalew Azeze, insists all government journalists to produce false news about the popular Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party. “You have no right to question any orders from the boss”, says one of the defected journalist, “our other option is incarceration with treason charges.” Dereje Tedla, journalist at government news agency and the Amharic daily Addis Zemen, who defected from Ethiopia to Japan, is known for his bravely challenging the Meles Zenawi regime.
In a letter written to EMF on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006, Dereje said the Federal Police Officers came to his home On 25 November 2005, midnight and warned him to stop any opposition against the government, otherwise they were ready to kill him and all his family.
Exhausted with intimidation and harassment, Dereje Tedla, 29, said that when he is approached by a soldier who threatened him by saying, “I am ready to kill you unless you denounce CUD". He had to make his way to escape from the brutal regime and through sponsorship by IAAF; he entered Japan, where he applied for political asylum.
According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the government of Meles Zenawi has incarcerated more journalists than any other country in the world.
In its recent statement, the IFJ’s Baglo says, “The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA) is completely disbanded; there is no independent media in Ethiopia, as most independents journalists have gone underground and about 100 journalists are in exile, including EFJA President Kifle Mulat.”
Below are among defected government journalists over the last six months: Fisha Tegegn - FM 97.1 Radio Getaneh Tsige - Ethiopian Press Agency Aregash Mokennen - Ethiopian Press Agency Yohannies Ayalew - Ethiopian Television Hailu Tsige - Ethiopian Press Agency Andargachew Tamir - Radio Fanna Fasika Girmay - Ethiopian Television Yared Belayneh - Ethiopian Radio Mohamed Ahmed - Ethiopian Television Dereje Tedla Demissie- Ethiopian Press Agency Dagmawi Tariku- FM 97.1 Radio host Abebe Feleke - FM 97.1 Radio host Tesfahun Demissie Dargie- Mass Media Agency/Editor Addis Lessa Martha Belay- Journalist at ETV 2


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