(CPJ) — Ethiopian authorities blocked the publication of a prominent independent newspaper over the weekend in connection with its stories on the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to local journalists.
The state-run printing company Barhanena Selam told the weekly Feteh on early Sunday morning that the government had ordered that week’s edition of the paper, about 30,000 copies, to be blocked on grounds of inciting national insecurity and endangering the government and the public, local journalists said. The paper had prepared pieces citing reports from the BBC and the exiled opposition group, Ethiopian National Transitional Council, local journalists said. A government spokesman did not return CPJ calls seeking comment.
News accounts have reported that Meles has been hospitalized in Brussels with an undisclosed condition.
“The ban on Feteh’s latest issue illustrates the depth of repression in Ethiopia today, and authorities’ determination to suppress independent coverage of the prime minister,” CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said. “Every citizen has a right to be informed about the well-being of their leader and the conduct of their government. Authorities should reverse their decision and allow the publication of Feteh’s weekend edition to proceed.” … [read more]