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Ethiopia7 May 2008

Entertainment monthly’s deputy editor freed on bail

Alemayehu Mahtemework, the deputy editor of the entertainment monthly Enku, and the three other people who were arrested at the same time as him were released on bail today despite the existence of a court order authorising their detention for 14 days pending trial.

They had been held in an Addis Ababa police station since 2 May. Ethiopian law allows the police to release detainees on bail if they believe there is no need to continue holding them.

06.05.2008 - Deputy Editor of Enku put in preventive detention

Alemayehu Mahtemework, deputy editor of the privately-owned entertainment monthly, Enku, and three others arrested at the same time as him, have been placed in preventive detention for two weeks, while an investigation is carried out. No charges have been laid against them. Reporters Without Borders has protested against this unjustified imprisonment and calls for the journalist’s immediate release as well as those arrested with him. Ethiopian police arrested the four men overnight on 2-3 May while travelling in a vehicle carrying copies of the magazine to be distributed.

05.05.2008 - Entertainment magazine publisher arrested in Addis Ababa

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Alemayehu Mahtemework, the publisher and deputy editor of the entertainment monthly Enku, on the night of 2 May in Addis Ababa, and the seizure of 10,000 copies of its latest issue.

The press freedom organisation also condemns the arrest of three people with no connection to the magazine who happened to be in the vehicle carrying the copies that were about to be distributed.

“The Ethiopian authorities have sent a very negative signal by choosing the eve of 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, to arrest a journalist and seize an issue of an independent magazine,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“Although aware of the climate of self-censorship prevailing in Addis Ababa, we chose to send the government a positive signal by withdrawing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from our list of press freedom predators, in order to salute the efforts it has made in the past year,” the organisation added. “But if this case is not resolved quickly and this kind of incident recurs, we will have to review our decision.”

The cover story of the issue that was seized by the police was about the controversial arrest of Tewodros Kasahun, a very popular singer who supports the opposition.

In this country
3 November - Ethiopia
Leading newspaper editor beaten unconscious outside son’s school
28 August - Ethiopia
Newspaper editor freed on bail
8 January - Ethiopia
Letter to prime minister about government’s refusal to licence two new newspapers
20 August - Ethiopia
Three more opposition journalists freed under government pardon
20 July - Ethiopia
Four journalists convicted of treason are pardoned and freed

in the annual report
Ethiopia - Annual Report 2008
Ethiopia - Annual Report 2007
Ethiopia - 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

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

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