The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the Africa regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has today called on the Ethiopia Government to free all journalists jailed and to allow the exiled journalists to come back and work for the mother country, Ethiopia.
The FAJ made this call while mourning the untimely death of exiled Ethiopian journalist, Million Shurube, who passed away at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi (Kenya), on Monday, 13 October, 2014 after a brief illness.
“We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Shurube and the entire journalists’ fraternity in Ethiopia”, said the President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Mohamed Garba. “Such situations are difficult for every family, most especially when one reflects on the fact that Shurube was forced into exile because of his job and his right to freedom of expression”.
Journalists have been on the receiving end of various forms of repression, across the globe this year, resulting in deaths, tribulations and immense suffering. “The Ethiopia Government must review its engagement with journalists and see them as crucial partners in development rather than opponents that need to be silenced” Garba added.
According to reports, Million Shurube was the founder and managing editor of the defunct weekly Maraki Magazine, and was one of a dozen of Ethiopian journalists forced into exile recently, having been harassed, threatened, accused, and charged with terrorism offenses. He fled to Kenya last September to escape from imprisonment, and had been in Nairobi for only a month.
He fell ill last week and was rushed to Mama Lucy Hospital in Nairobi and then transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital, where he died on Monday October 13.
Million Shurube had also worked for different publications including the now-defunct Abay, Ethiop, and Google newspapers, was known for his exciting writings on issues including art, religion, tradition, and was also outspoken and inspiring with articles on the political and human rights in Ethiopia.
The President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Mohammed Garba, also extended his sincere condolences to the family and his gratitude to journalists and media fraternity in Kenya and Ethiopia, and to the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) who have put their acts together to support the family to return the body home in Ethiopia for burial.
The FAJ President called on Ethiopia government to be more tolerant to journalists and the media and to bring their media laws into conformity with internationally recognized standards.
According to the FAJ President, “the repressions, intimidations, harassments and sufferings that most journalists face today are simply because of the unfriendly laws that govern the media in the country”.
EAJA, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) officers met and held discussions with the Ethiopian Government Communication Affairs Office Minister, Redwan Hussien, in September and raised the situation of Ethiopian journalists in jail and in exile.
The meeting with the Ethiopian Minister came following concerns over the high number of Ethiopian journalists who have been fleeing into exile and the cases of those either in jail or facing court cases following government crackdown on the media and journalists.
For more information, please contact FAJ Secretariat: +221 33 867 95 86/87
The FAJ represents more than 50,000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa
International Federation of Journalists – Africa Regional Office
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Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02 50 www.ifjafrique.org; www.ifj.org