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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Resolutions Passed by the 56th International Press Institute (IPI) General Assembly

IPI Resolution on Ethiopian
Press Release

Meeting at its Annual General Assembly on 14 May 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, the IPI membership adopted a resolution calling on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all imprisoned journalists and refrain from punishing the media for its reporting.

On 9 April, the Ethiopian High Court released eight journalists and editors detained since the Ethiopian authorities imprisoned large numbers of individuals following public unrest in November 2005. The disturbances followed parliamentary elections considered by many not to be free and fair.

The journalists were originally charged with a variety of so-called "anti-state" offences and genocide charges; these charges were subsequently rejected by the High Court.

On the 5 April, the president of the banned Ethiopian Press Freedom Journalists' Organization (EFJA), Kifle Mulat, was also cleared in court of outraging "the constitution and constitutional order."

While the IPI membership welcomes the release of these journalists, according to reports there are nine, possibly more, journalists still detained on charges dating back to November 2005.

Furthermore, the Ethiopian government is once against renewing its prosecution and imprisonment of journalists for old offences, often dating back many years. Newspapers have been closed and two foreign journalists expelled.

The IPI membership believes that editors and journalists have been arrested as a punishment for their writing. Therefore, the IPI membership calls on the Ethiopian government to release all imprisoned journalists, halt the closure of media organizations and allow the foreign media access to the country.