Terrorism charges have been filed against five journalists in Ethiopia. Four independent journalists and the editor of a US based news forum have been detained in the country since June and July. The group were formally charged before the High Court on Tuesday, following their entry to Ethiopia in June with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which is classed as a terrorist organisation by the government. Terrorism charges were also filed in absentia against Elias Kifle, editor of US-based anti-government forum Ethiopian Review.
Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, were arrested by troops in Ethiopia when they were found travelling with rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Ethiopian government has branded the ONLF a terrorist organisation, 15 individuals were killed when the troops ambushed the group. The two freelancers entered the country to report about allegations of the torture and rape of locals. Schibbye and Persson are currently being treated for minor injuries and could face trial later this week.
Heather Murdock, a US journalist, has been expelled from Ethiopia. Local reports suggest her work as an investigative journalist in the restive Ogaden province was the reason for her expulsion. There have been a number of recent skirmishes between government forces and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Murdock had been working for the broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) covering the aftermath of the general election. The Ethiopian government has recently enacted anti-terrorism legislation which empowers it to expel journalists which portray rebel groups in a favourable light and the authorities have been blocking of Voice of America’s website and jamming of its radio service in recent months.