DAKAR, Senegal — The arrest of a cameraman working for the news agency Reuters in the Ethiopian capital last week shows how press freedom has eroded in a country now engaged in a war with one of its own states, according to an international media watchdog group.
Kumerra Gemechu, 38, was arrested at home in Addis Ababa, the capital, as his 10-year-old daughter clung to him screaming, said Hawi Desalegn, his wife. He was not charged, but will be held in detention for at least two weeks, according to his family.
Ethiopia has long been known for repression of independent media. But there were hopes that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — who came to power in 2018 and won the Nobel Peace Prize last year — would usher in an era of greater freedom and democracy.
Recently, however, his government has used the judicial system to intimidate the press, said the Committee to Protect Journalists, the media watchdog group.
Mr. Abiy launched a military offensive in the northern region of Tigray, where leaders from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front have resisted his rule. Thousands of people have reportedly been killed and an estimated 950,000 displaced. The government says it now controls the troubled region, but has prevented access to most media outlets requesting authorization to travel there.
“Kumerra’s arrest is yet another blow, signaling that the Ethiopian government is hellbent on its path to intimidate and detain journalists so as to undermine the right to press freedom and the right to know of its
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