Nation Journalist Mysteriously Disappears in Ethiopia

  • An image of empty NTV studios taken in October 2017
    NTV studios at Twin Towers along Kimathi Street in a photo dated October 2017.
    NMG
  • Nation Media Group journalist has mysteriously disappeared while on duty in Ethiopia forcing the management of the company to take action.

    Their journalist, Tesfa-Alem Tekle, who is Nation's correspondent in Addi Ababa disappeared after being released by the law enforcement officers in the country.

    The journalist had initially been apprehended in  Ethiopia's capital on October 31. He was charged with insulting the ruling party and having links with extremist groups.

    File Photo of Tesfa-Alem Tekle, Nation Media Journalist Who Disappeared in Ethiopia
    File Photo of Tesfa-Alem Tekle, Nation Media Journalist Who Disappeared in Ethiopia
    File

    Tekle was released on bail on November 4. That is when he mysteriously disappeared prompting Nation's management to take action.

    In their course of action, Nation has petitioned the Ethiopian government. The media house has written to the Ministry of Justice and copied to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    NMG's Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu said: “We are concerned about the safety of Tesfa and appeal to the authorities to disclose his whereabouts and the circumstances under which he is being held.”

    This case involving the Nation Media journalist is not an isolated one. Cases of of media constrictions have been escalating since the breakout of the skirmishes in the country.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says it has noted an increase in cases of harassment and arrest of journalists in the past year.

    “CPJ has found a deterioration of press freedom in Ethiopia since the war (in Tigray) started. Even before that we were documenting violations, for instance arrests of journalists and a failure to follow due process in their cases, but this trend became entrenched after the start of the war,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ Sub-Saharan Representative.

    “Numerous journalists have been arrested, many of them facing nebulous allegations such as supporting TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) and the police hold them for long pre-charge durations while claiming to carry out investigations. “

    “We’ve also seen other types of attacks. Earlier this year, there was a foreign journalist who was expelled from Ethiopia, and we’ve also recorded two incidents in which journalists were assaulted and intimidated for their journalism. What we are seeing is an environment that’s hostile to independent journalism,” she added.

    This comes even as the media company is still trying to establish the painful demise of one of their journalist Gatonye Gathura.

    According to postmortem results, Gatonye died from strangulation and blunt force trauma. The pathologist stated that Gatonye was strangled using a computer cable. In addition, the veteran journalist also suffered a head injury likely to be caused by a blunt object.

    Veteran journalist Gatonye Gathura whose body was found in a morgue on Thursday, November 25.
    Veteran journalist Gatonye Gathura whose body was found in a morgue on Thursday, November 25.
    The Standard
    died harass arrest