Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Eritrea31 January 2002

RSF calls on Parliament to ask for the release of imprisoned journalists

Reporters Sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders - RSF), a Paris-based press freedom watchdog has called on members of the Eritrean parliament to ask for the immediate release of all journalists languishing in jail in Eritrea.

RSF General Secretary Robert Ménard said: "Parliamentarians today have an opportunity to show goodwill and a commitment to press freedom. They must take a firm approach firm vis-à-vis the executive and call for their release." "We remind them that Eritrea has become the only country in the whole African continent without a single independent publication," he added.

On 29 January 2002, Eritrea’s National Assembly opened its first session since 2000. Parliamentarians are set to tackle the issue of jailed political dissidents as well as the situation of the independent press in the country. RSF recalled that on 18 September 2001, independent newspapers announced that they were publishing their final issue until further notice, on the order of the government. The head of national television then went on the air to explain that "independent media have had time to correct their mistakes. They have been jeopardising national unity." Since this day no independent newspaper came out.

At the same time eight journalists were arrested and detained at the N° 1 Police Station in Asmara. They are: Yusuf Mohamed Ali, editor in chief of Tsigenay, already detained during several weeks in October 2000, Mattewos Habteab, editor in chief of Meqaleh, previously arrested several times these last months, Dawit Isaac and Tsehaye Yohannes, journalists for Setit, Medhanie Haile, editor in chief of Keste Debena, and Temesgen Gebreyesus, member of the board of directors, Emanuel Asrat from Zemen, and an independent photographer Seyoum Fsehaye.

There is still no news of the six following other journalists: Zemenfes Haile, former director of publication and founder of the Tsigenay newspaper Selamyinghes Beyene, reporter for Meqaleh, Simret Seyoum, general manager of Setit and Aaron Berhane, editor in chief, Said Abdulkader, editor in chief of Admas and Ghebrehiwet Keleta, journalist of Tsigenay. They are believed to have either been thrown in prison or to have clandestinely taken refuge elsewhere to escape arrest.



In this country
6 March - Eritrea
Plea to EU to suspend development aid in light of fresh crackdown on journalists
30 October - Eritrea
State TV journalist secretly sentenced in 2006 to five years of forced labour
17 September - Eritrea
European Union urged to shake off lethargy after seven years of silence since September 2001 crackdown
24 April - Eritrea
Journalist employed by state-owned Radio Dimtsi Hafash held since 2006
30 January - Eritrea
New revelations about Eiraeiro prison camp - “The journalist Seyoum Tsehaye is in cell No. 10 of block A01”

in the annual report
Eritrea - Annual Report 2008
Eritrea - Annual Report 2007
Eritrea - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives
archives

reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists