Press Watchdog Protests Arrest of Journalists in Eritrea
The press freedom watchdog Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders - RSF) Thursday protested over the arrest of eight journalists in Eritrea earlier this month.
"We ask you to do everything in your power to ensure that the two journalists who are still detained are released immediately," RSF's general secretary Robert Menard said in a letter to the Eritrean home affairs minister.
The eight journalists from privately owned newspapers were arrested in Asmara on October 14, according to RSF. Six of them were released on October 18.
The organization urged authorities in Asmara to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees freedom of expression.
"Eritrea is one of the countries in Africa which has not made an international commitment in favor of press freedom," Menard added.
Milkias Mihretab, editor of the Tigrinya language weekly Keste Debena (Rainbow) and Yusuf Mohamed Ali of the weekly Tsigenay are still detained in a prison near Asmara.
They are officially in jail for "national service reasons". The authorities allegedly wanted them to join the army and fight in the border conflict with Ethiopia.
RSF quoted its sources in Asmara as saying that the eight journalists were arrested because of articles criticizing the government.
The government in Asmara asked private newspapers several times not to publish "antipatriotic information" and some journalists claimed they were threatened after news about the war appeared in their newspapers, according to RSF -- NAIROBI (AFP)
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