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Foreign

Correspondents' Association of Ethiopia


August 13 2016


Addis Ababa - The Foreign Correspondents' Association of Ethiopia remains deeply
concerned about continuing threats to press freedom in Ethiopia, which include the
recent 24-hour detention of three accredited journalists.

Three journalists working in the Arsi Negele area of Oromia region in Ethiopia were
detained by authorities for over 24 hours on August 8th and 9th, marking a continuation of
obstructions to press freedom in the Horn of Africa nation.

Africa News Agency (ANA) correspondent Hadra Ahmed, who was working as a fixer and
translator, and visiting journalists from the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Fred de
Sam Lazaro and Thomas Adair, were interviewing farmers about drought- and aid-related
issues. They were working with international non-profit Catholic Relief Services. The
Shashemene area experienced anti-government demonstrations on August 6 that led to the
deaths of protesters.

The group was asked to go to nearby Shashemene town police station on Monday afternoon
by authorities. Their passports and all equipment were confiscated and the group was told
to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopias capital. The detainees traveled to Addis Ababa under
police escort on August 9th and were released by the National Intelligence and Security
Services on Tuesday evening after a further 6 hours of interrogation. They were given no
explanation for the detention. They were told not to do reporting outside of Addis Ababa.

Officials from the Government Communications Affairs Office, which accredited the
journalists, were aware of the situation but unable to secure a quick release.

Arbitrary detentions, which typically last for a few hours, are a common impediment for
journalists in Ethiopia. The FCAE, an informal network of journalists working for foreign
media in Ethiopia, previously highlighted the 24-hour detention of two members in March
who were trying cover the ongoing Oromo protests.

Hadra and her colleagues ordeal is the latest example in a long trend of the government
preventing journalists from doing their work, said William Davison, the FCAEs chairman.
The government should ensure that security officers and local officials respect the rights it
grants journalists to travel around Ethiopia and report freely.