"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." - Lech Walesa

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ethiopia’s jailed journalists seek international support

WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Reeyot Alemu. Photos Courtesy: International Women's Media Foundation(thehindu.com) “You may be really surprised by our nonsensical imprisonment,” Reeyot Alemu wrote in a letter recently smuggled out of a prison in Addis Ababa, “The international community should be aware of the objective reality that we are burdened to live a life which is inexplicable to contemplate, let alone easily engage with.”
In 2011, Ms. Reeyot, a schoolteacher, columnist and political activist, was convicted of conspiring to commit terrorist acts across Ethiopia and sentenced to 14 years in prison; her sentence was subsequently reduced to five years. At present she and at least six other journalists remain imprisoned, while at least 49 journalists have fled the country as a consequence of government intimidation according to the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ).
Ms. Reeyot was awarded the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in 2013 and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism award last year, Woubshet Taye, sentenced to 14 years, was recently awarded the CNN Free Press Africa award this year, while Eskinder Nega, sentenced to 18 years on terror charges was awarded a PEN America press freedom award in 2012.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Who’s Having “Nightmares” in Africa? By Prof. Al Mariam

Kenyatta RutoGreat African leaders have dreams. The rest have nightmares.
Recently, African leaders, at least those at the helm of the African Union and their flunkies, have been reporting endlessly recurring ghastly nightmares of Lady Justice “race hunting” them with scales in one hand and a sword in the other. President Uhuru Kenyatta, described by Time Magazine as “Kenya’s richest man”, 
last week vividly described  his sleepless nights interrupted by nightmarish naps to his brethren at the African Union:
I do not need to tell your Excellencies about the nightmare my country in particular, and myself and my Deputy as individuals, have had to endure in making this realisation. Western powers are the key drivers of the ICC process. They have used prosecutions as ruses