Ethiopian authorities on Friday revoked the press credentials of a foreign journalist who had worked for The Economist in the Horn of Africa nation.
In a letter dated Friday afternoon and Tue The Ethiopian Media Authority (EMA), seen by The EastAfrican, said it had revoked Tom Gardner’s media accreditation, citing failure to comply with professional ethics and violations of the country’s laws and regulations. Details of the allegations were not given.
“As a professional journalist accredited to work in Ethiopia, you know very well that the condition of your license depends on your strict adherence to professional ethics and rules and the regulations of the country,” it said.
“With this letter we would like to inform you that your accreditation will be revoked with immediate effect and you will no longer be allowed to work as a journalist in Ethiopia.”
EMA said the agency held several interviews with the journalist before making the decision.
However, the agency claimed that Mr Gardner failed to comply with standards of conduct for journalists.
“Despite our repeated discussions, verbal warnings, and written reprimands, you have not shown a willingness to correct your erroneous approach,” the letter said.
However, it said The Economist can g ern to appoint an “unbiased and independent” journalist to replace Mr Gardner.
A few weeks ago, EMA had issued a warning letter to the journalist after he posted on his private social media that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and TPLF rebel leader Debre Zion Gebre-Michael had held a phone conversation.
Authorities warned him to be cautious about his phone reporting, particularly on stories that may affect national interest.
< p>Since the outbreak of the Tigray conflict in November 2020, the Ethiopian government has been criticized for creating a difficult environment for journalists and dissidents.
Journalists have also complained about being denied access to war zones , which reported violations of rights, including massacres, rapes and other serious crimes.
The Ethiopian government led by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been criticized by several international rights groups for using the state of emergency as a tool to arbitrarily detain several journalists to quash critical reporting and silence reporting on war zones.
The Committee for Pro tect Journalists (CPJ) Prison Census 2021 ranked Ethiopia as the second worst prison guard for journalists in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are very concerned. CPJ’s Africa program coordinator Angela Quintal told The EastAfrican on Friday.
Since the conflict broke out in Tigray, several Ethiopian journalists and translators have been working for a number of international media organizations – including Opposite AFP, the Nation Media Group, Reuters, the BBC and the Financial Times – were arrested while going about their business.
Last year the Ethiopian authorities revoked the press accreditation of a New York Times
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