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Saturday, May 06, 2006


Regional Conference for Press/Media Council at Bagamoyo, Tanzania

May 2-3 2006

WHEREAS May 3rd is internationally recognized as World Press Freedom Day and is a time to reflect on the basic human right of all people to receive and impart information freely via media of their choice.

AND WHEREAS it is noted by respected international organizations that in many nations these rights are abrogated by repressive government actions that include murder, jailing, harassment of journalists, and suppression of the means of communication,

AND WHEREAS the current Ethiopian government has employed all of these repressive methods against journalists and media workers,

AND WHEREAS at least 20 Ethiopian Journalists have been sentenced to long jail terms, and that many others have been forced into exile while facing charges such as treason for exercising their basic right to free expression, thus ranking Ethiopia among the worst nations in the world for use of these methods,

AND WHEREAS we observe that the Ethiopian regime has especially targeted the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA) as an object of this repression,

AND WHEREAS we find intolerable that any nation would employ these draconian methods against their own population,

AND WHEREAS we are journalists and representatives of African nations and have ourselves struggled for democratic goals and we find it shameful that Ethiopia is emerging as a pariah state on the African continent,

That we condemn the Ethiopian regime for jailing journalists or any other persons for exercising their basic human right of self expression and we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all held under these conditions.

Further, we demand that the charges against journalists that have forced them into exile, be dropped so that they may return home to their families without threat of punishment, whether through exercise of police power or by extra-judicial harassment or violence. We demand that the campaign of terror against the EFJA cease immediately so that this organization can join with others in civil society in restoration of democratic government.