Ethiopian Authorities Capture French Journalist, Confirmation from Employer

Ethiopian Authorities Capture French Journalist, Confirmation

Ethiopian Authorities Capture French Journalist, Confirmation

Ethiopian authorities have detained French journalist Antoine Galindo over allegations of “conspiracy to create chaos,” as reported by his employer Africa Intelligence. Galindo, arrested while on assignment in Addis Ababa, had his detention extended until March 1 after a court hearing on February 24. This development underscores ongoing concerns about press freedom in Ethiopia, with human rights activists criticizing the government’s restrictions, particularly in response to critical reporting on conflicts and security crises.

The arrest of Galindo, suspected of plotting to sow discord in Ethiopia, comes amid a broader crackdown on journalism in the country. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the detention of at least eight Ethiopian journalists since August, pointing to a worrying trend of press repression. Foreign journalists have also faced challenges, with some being expelled or denied accreditations in recent years.

Africa Intelligence vehemently condemned Galindo’s arrest, deeming it unjustified, and issued a call for his immediate release. The organization’s lawyer attended the court hearing, where the charges were disclosed. The incident raises concerns about the deteriorating press freedom landscape in Ethiopia and the government’s stance towards critical reporting.

Ethiopia, once hailed for political reforms under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has faced criticism for backsliding on democratic gains. Abiy, who came to power in 2018, initially released numerous jailed media figures as part of broader political reforms. However, as the nation grapples with civil conflicts, including the 2020-2022 war in the Tigray region, concerns have been raised about a renewed crackdown on dissent. The government argues that its actions are necessary to maintain stability and uphold law and order in the multi-ethnic nation.

This incident also highlights the challenges faced by journalists operating in conflict zones and areas of political tension. Press freedom is essential for fostering transparency, accountability, and a robust democratic society. The arrest of journalists on charges such as “conspiracy to create chaos” raises questions about the broader environment for free expression and the ability of media professionals to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.

As Ethiopia navigates through these complex issues, international attention remains focused on the state of press freedom and the broader human rights situation in the country. The plight of journalists like Antoine Galindo underscores the importance of safeguarding the fundamental principles that underpin a free and vibrant media landscape.

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