Ethiopian Journalists Forum (EJF) warns leaders of three Journalists Associations

By Betre Yacob.

SAM_0646 Ethiopian Journalists Forum (EJF), the newly established journalists  association in Ethiopia, warned leaders of three journalists associations  operating in the country.

In a statement issued yesterday, the association accused the officials of  Ethiopian journalists Association (EJA), Ethiopian National Journalists  Union (ENJU), and Ethiopian Free Journalists Association (EFJA) of  fabricating false accusations against the association and members of  media organizations.

Ethiopian Journalists Forum is a nonpartisan and independent  professional association intended to defend the freedom of speech and  of the press in Ethiopia.

The press statement says that the officials have been deliberately  engaged in fabricating false accusations ranging from terrorism to  conspiracy— aiming to intimidate journalists and members of the association. “They are trying to spoil the name of our association, which is getting a wider acceptance among journalists and media workers”, the statement explains.

“For instance, in an interview published at Addis Admass weekly newspaper issued on March 30, 2014 they said that journalists had been preparing to commit terrorism against the nation and its citizens. They also accused two unnamed countries of backing the journalists. In another article published at Reporter, a weekly newspaper, issued on March 9, 2014 they once again said the same thing accusing journalists”, it further explains.

The statement says the association doesn’t have a response for the groundless accusations of these depraved individuals—who are barking to retain their own cheep benefits. It says it only would like to warn them once and for all to refrain from their unlawful acts.

The EJF was established on 20 January, 2014 considering the harsh working conditions of journalists in Ethiopia; and the importance of a unified media workers and journalists’ voice. In a few months only, the association has been able to get acceptance among journalists and media institutions.

Particularly, the EJF has been welcomed by almost all journalists operating in the free press. Its formation has been good news to those who wish to see an independent institution—which is loyal only to the journalists.

The EJF is supposed by many to be a best framework to work against the deteriorating press freedom in the country and bring about change on the safety of journalists. It is, however, seen as a threat by EJA, ENJU, and EFJA. According to the association, it has begun to experience their accusation since its inception.

The EJF has a vision to become a leading professional association in Ethiopia, which defends the freedom of speech and of the press as well as the rights of journalists.

The Wake of Non-operational Associations

Ethiopian journalists Association (EJA), Ethiopian National Journalists Union (ENJU), and Ethiopian Free Journalists Association (EFJA) were in active for a long period. They came to the stage following the formation of EJF.

Both the associations are accused of being loyal to the regime and of failing to play their role. None of them have ever been seen doing anything to bring about change on the deteriorating press freedom and safety of journalists.

Despite the fact that journalists are still subjected to violence, EJA, ENJU, and EFJA believe freedom of speech and of the press is respected in Ethiopia, and accuse CPJ and other international organizations of defaming the name of the country.

They also accuse Ethiopian journalists of using their rights to incite violence in the country. They even don’t accept the journalists, who are currently behind the bar in the country, are prosecuted because of their job.

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