Ethiopian immigration officials have deported a British journalist over an accreditation row that both sides are disputing.
William Davison, who was a Bloomberg reporter for seven years before he started writing for The Guardian, said he was expelled from Ethiopia on Wednesday after being detained at a police station for a day.
“Officials from Ethiopia’s Immigration department deported me and I am now back in the U.K,” Davison posted on Facebook, saying the Ethiopian government failed to grant him accreditation to report for The Guardian after he stopped working for Bloomberg. “What my treatment demonstrates once again is a lack of appreciation of professional journalism and a failure of various government institutions and officials to follow established procedure in anything like a transparent manner.”
The journalist, who was chairman of the Ethiopian Foreign Correspondents Association, said he was not given a specific reason for his deportation but an official at the Ethiopian spokesman office said the journalist was deported because had no foreign media affiliation.
“We have been treating him like all the other reporters when he was a Bloomberg reporter but now he has no accreditation with any other media outlet or whatsoever so he can’t produce reports from within Ethiopia now,” said Mohammed Seid, an official at the Ethiopian spokesman’s office. “I’m not aware that he has submitted a new accreditation with The Guardian.”
In a separate incident, Ethiopian officials detained prominent blogger and university lecturer Seyoum Teshome on Thursday.
Ethiopia is an ally of the West, especially on security issues, but it is often accused by rights groups of arresting journalists, activists and opposition figures. Officials recently released several high- profile opposition figures and journalists after the outgoing Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn pledged to open up the political space for all and create a national consensus.
Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency and a new prime minister is set to be elected in the coming few days. This follows massive anti- government protests in some parts of the country that started in November 2015 and claimed the lives of several hundred people. More than 22,000 people were also detained under a previous emergency rule, most of whom have since been released.
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