30 December 2015

Ethiopia: Statement By National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price On the Arrest of Journalists in Ethiopia

Photo: Addis Fortune
Zone9 bloggers who were previously charged with terror activities in Addis Ababa.

Having welcomed developments in Ethiopia earlier this year - including the release of several detained bloggers - that suggested increased protections for the fundamental right of free expression, we are deeply concerned by the recent arrests of other journalists in Ethiopia.

We continue to urge the Ethiopian Government to build on earlier developments by strengthening free speech protections and broadening democratic progress, and note that the continued stifling of independent voices will only inhibit such progress as well as development and economic growth.

The United States has consistently applauded Ethiopia for being a model and a voice for development in Africa, but such gains must rest on a foundation of democratic governance and respect for human rights if they are to be sustainable.

We urge the Ethiopian Government to release journalists and all others imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression, to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to silence dissent, and to protect the rights of journalists, bloggers, and dissidents to write and speak freely as voices of a diverse nation.

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