Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CPJ welcomes Ethiopian pardon of Swedish journalists

Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye appear on state television. (ETV/YouTube)
(CPJ) - The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved to learn the Ethiopian government has pardoned Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye on Tuesday.

“We welcome the government’s decision and look forward to the prompt release of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “However, journalists should never be jailed for legitimate newsgathering. Authorities ought to show tolerance for independent reporting and release the remaining six journalists imprisoned.”

Since 2011, the government of Ethiopia has convicted 11 independent journalists and bloggers under a sweeping antiterrorism law. 

Ethiopian authorities arrested Persson and Schibbye in July 2011 and sentenced them to 11 years in prison for allegedly supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally after the two reporters covered the activities of a separatist group in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region.

Ghana ALERT: Members of a Muslim sect storm North Star FM

(MFWA) - North Star FM, a privately-owned radio station based in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital was on August 19, 2012 besieged by members of Al-Sunna, a Muslim sect, to register their displeasure over alleged misinterpretations of some verses of the Holy Qur’an. 

A confrontation occurred when the members of the Al-Sunna sect thronged the radio station to react to interpretations of some Qur’an verses that the Tijaniya, another Muslim group had earlier interpreted on the station.  

Though the Tijaniya group had already left the radio station, the angry members of Al-Sunna chose to vent their spleen on the radio station. 

In an interview with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Adam Cockra, general manager of the radio station explained that members of the Tijaniya were at the station earlier to preach and educate the public on some aspects of the Qur’an. 

This angered the Al-Sunna group who accused the Tijaniya group of misinterpreting the Holy Book, and thus stormed the station’s premises. 

“No casualties or damages occurred albeit some furniture were destroyed” the manager said. 

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