August 8, 2012

Ethiopian media barred from reporting about the health of Meles Zenawi

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 9:04 am
Tags: , , , ,

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s long absence is causing uncertainty in the Horn of Africa amid speculation about his deteriorating health.

Meles has not been seen in public since he attended the G8 summit in Mexico in June, 2012. And government has since confirmedthat the Prime Minister was sick after weeks of spirited denials.

Bereket Simon, a government spokesperson at the weekend said Meles’ condition was improving and he will return to work soon.

“The Prime Minister’s health is now in a much better condition after his treatment. He is taking some rest,” he told state television.

But Simon refused to disclose where he was receiving treatment following speculation that he was admitted at a Brussels hospital.

The limited disclosures by government had only served to fuel speculation with some Ethiopians having gone as far as claiming that Meles had died.

“I am confused why the government wants to keep it secret about his whereabouts’ and his illness. We have the right to know about him,” said Solomon Metaferia, an Addis Ababa resident.

“The government is telling us that Meles is in a better condition. Why don’t they show us that on a television?”

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Salamawit Tasewe, a university student said the situation had been worsened by lack of information on the PM’s health in the local media.

“We are really confused what to do. Even the media’s are unable to tell us the truth about his health where he is now,” he said.

A private newspaper-Feteh (Justice) – said it was barred from publishing by government after it wrote stories about Meles’ health.

According tough media laws the state owned publishing house that prints most of Ethiopia’s newspapers can refuse to print a paper if it believes its content violates the 2009 anti-terrorism law.

Media activists have condemned the ban saying it was symptomatic of the repression in Ethiopia.

“The ban on Feteh’s latest issue illustrates the depth of repression in Ethiopia today, and authorities’ determination to suppress independent coverage of the Prime minister,” Committee to Protect Journalists East Africa consultant Tom Rhodes said.

“Every citizen has a right to be informed about the well-being of their leader and the conduct of their government.

“Authorities should reverse their decision and allow the publication of Feteh’s weekend edition to proceed.”


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