Press freedom

  1. Ethiopian police release Reuters cameraman

    Kumerra Gemechu
    Image caption: Kumerra Gemechu was taken away by police on 24 December

    Ethiopian police have released Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu after detaining him without charge for 12 days, Reuters reports.

    Police had told his lawyer Melkamu Ogo that their lines of inquiry included accusations of disseminating false information, communicating with groups fighting the government, and disturbing the public's peace and security.

    However, Mr Melkamu said he had seen no evidence.

    Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said he was "delighted" he had been released.

    "His release today affirms he has done nothing wrong," he said in a statement.

    Mr Kumerra, 38, covered the conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region and he had worked freelance as a cameraman for Reuters for almost a decade.

    His detention came almost two weeks after two Ethiopian police officers assaulted Reuters photographer Tiksa Negeri, the agency added.

    The government has previously denied it is clamping down on press freedom.

  2. Criticism as Chad forces 12 newspapers to close

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Men look at an array of newspapers in Chad in 2016.
    Image caption: The authorities have accused the publications of breaking the law (file photo)

    The media regulator in Chad has closed down 12 publications, accusing them of breaking the law.

    Five French-language weekly newspapers and seven Arab dailies have been suspended for at least three months.

    The authorities said the publications had failed to meet requirements that senior staff were trained in journalism and had at least three years' higher education.

    Chad's Human Rights League described the suspension as a "shame" for the country.

  3. UK diplomat criticises Zimbabwe crackdown

    BBC World Service

    Hopewell Chin'ono
    Image caption: Detained journalist Hopewell Chin'ono exposed corruption in government

    The UK ambassador to Zimbabwe says she is seriously concerned about the human rights situation in the country, following the recent arrests of activists and opposition politicians.

    In a BBC interview, Melanie Robinson specifically mentioned the case of journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who has been in prison for five weeks and has repeatedly been denied bail.

    He was arrested for supporting anti-government protests.

    President Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused countries in the west of undermining his government and contributing to Zimbabwe's economic crisis by imposing sanctions.

    Ms Robinson said that no Zimbabweans were currently under British sanctions.

    She said the crisis was due to economic mismanagement and corruption.

    Read more:

    Zimbabwe - once more on the brink of collapse?

  4. Kenyan journalist gets Covid-19 in Ethiopia prison

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma, who has been in detention in Ethiopia since last month, has contracted Covid-19, his lawyer Kedir Bullo has told me.

    Mr Juma was due to appear in court in the capital, Addis Ababa, but failed to do so because of his illness, Mr Bullo added.

    A federal court ordered his release on bail last week, but Addis Ababa police said they were still investigating charges against him and kept him in detention.

    He was arrested with two Ethiopian journalists. They have been accused of inciting ethnic violence and plotting to kill senior Ethiopian officials.

    All three deny the allegations.