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Ethiopian govt bans the Economist journalist from working in the country

  • Ethiopian authorities have revoked the press accreditation of Tom Gardner.
  • The country says he failed to live up to the standards of conduct for journalists.
  • Jeff Pearce, a writer and historian, had earlier accused Gardner of “an unforgivable and appalling breach of journalistic ethics”.

The Ethiopian government has revoked the media accreditation of The Economist journalist Tom Gardner.

The country’s Media Licence Registration and Accreditation Director Fantahun Asres, in a letter addressed to Gardner, said: “…this letter is written to inform you that your accreditation is revoked effective immediately and you are no longer allowed to work as a journalist in Ethiopia.”

Since 2016, Gardner has been based in Addis Ababa, covering politics, economics, business, and culture for The Economist.

His work has also featured in The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Quartz, Africa Report, New Statesman, Monocle, Prospect, 1843 magazine, and France24.

Asres said that Gardner had on numerous occasions ignored verbal and written reprimands about his coverage of Ethiopia.

“As a professional journalist accredited to work in Ethiopia, you know very well that the condition of your permit is dependent on your strict observation of professional ethics and the rules and the regulations of the country.

The letter further stated:

However, to our disappointment, you have failed to live up to these standards of conduct for journalists. Despite our repeated discussions, verbal warnings and written reprimands, you have not shown the willingness to correct your mistaken approach.

The move comes a week after an open letter to The Economist from Jeff Pearce, a writer and historian. In it, he accused Gardner of “an unforgivable and appalling breach of journalistic ethics”.

Pearce had issues with Gardner criticising Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald paper titled “The frontline voices: Tigrayans speak on the realities of life under an insurgency regime”, which he allegedly said was methodologically flawed and unethical.

Fitz-Gerald had sought to expose the plight of Tigrayans living under the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) rule.

On Thursday, via his tweeter handle @jeffpropulsion Pearce tweeted:

“It’s Thursday, and it would be another great day to rescind Tom Gardner’s media license and boot him out of Ethiopia.

“I’ll stop asking the Gods of Journalism and Writing for a pony if they will make this happen.

“And if not them, hey, Ethiopian Media Authority: Please?”

The following day, Gardner lost his accreditation, but the Media Licence Registration and Accreditation Director said The Economist was free send another journalist.

The development comes at a time when journalists in Ethiopia have spoken out against arrests and disapearances of colleagues.

Amir Aman Kiyaro and colleague Thomas Engida were arrested in November 2021. If convicted of violating the country’s wartime state of emergency and anti-terrorism law, they could be jailed for at least five years.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last week called on Ethiopian authorities to release journalists Dessu Dulla and Bikila Amenu and also drop all charges against them.

The two face charges under Article 238 of the country’s criminal code, which bars “outrages against the constitution”.

Since 1992, two journalists have been killed, and on average nine have been arrested each year. Ethiopia is ranked 114th, down 13 places from its ranking in 2021, in the latest World Press Freedom Index.


1 thought on “Ethiopian govt bans the Economist journalist from working in the country”

  1. To Ambassador Aleligne Admasu,
    Embassy of Israel,
    Addis Ababa,Ethiopia.

    Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈmaʁtiːn ˈniːmƓlɐ] ( listen); 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor.
    He is the author of this poem and it is engraved in the YAD V SHEM in Jerusalem and where there is Holocaust museum around the world including USA.I hope you remember it and at least every year during Holocaust rememberance day you may read or see it.
    “First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist
    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist
    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew
    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me”
    Martin Niemöller (German) was a strong follower of Adof Hitler’s inhuman actions.He confessed it.He was not communist,trade unionist,Catholic,Jew but protestant pastor.He thought what is gong around him during the mass killing of Hitlers is not his concern.During these incidents he considered himself free and comfortable.
    Martin Niemöller (German) felt the pain of those around him when it pricked his own skin.At this time no one was around to speak about his pain and suffering.That is what is the nature of most of the people.
    Now I rephrase Martin Niemöller (German) poem and apply to the time that we live.
    Dear Ambassador in the land where you were born human beings are being murdered.They are murdered because they are born of Amara parents and they are speaking Amarigna.
    The Martin Niemöller (German) of Addis Abeba says like this:
    “First the TPLF killed Amaras and I said I don’t care because I am not Amara.
    TPLF killed the Ethiopian Orthodox believers and I said I am of different belief so I don’t care.
    OLF killed Amaras in Wellega under the shadow of Abiy Ahmed Ali’s government, then I said this is the internal problem this doesn’t make me involve.
    Gumuz people murdered Amaras under the umbrella of Abiy Ahmed Ali’s government and again I said this is the issue of the government not my country or my office.
    TPLF destroyed Amara regional infrastructure,killed thousand Amaras, displaced many and I said it is the internal conflict so my government and my office doesn’t involve.
    TPLF begged the international community for humanitarian aid.Then USA extended its hand not to Amaras for the Amaras are labelled as agressors while Amaras are not initiaters of aggression.”
    We can say a lot just like Martin Niemöller (German) till it touches our skin.USA was blamed for its silence during 2nd world war for not responding to the plight of the Jews.During the Ruanda genocide USA and the so called democratic and civilized nations which defend human rights kept quiet.
    In our time when Ukrain and Russio are at war the all so called democratic and civilized nations stood on the side of Ukrain and sent weapons and humanitarian aids.BBC,CNN,Israeli tv are busy to spread news about this war and to condemn Russia.
    The same type of atrocity is carried by TPLF and Abiy Ahmed Ali’s government in Ethiopia.The developed,civilized and democratic governments either they are silent or their tv channels are propagating news supporting TPLF and Abiy Ahmed Ali’s government.
    Honorable ambassador Aleligne Admasu at this time you are in Ethiopia ,where you were born and lived with your parents.I know you were having hard time when you lived in Gondar.I know you were not treated well.But you have enjoyed some of the positive sides till you left Ethiopia and became Israeli citizen.Thanks God you got high position,ambassador of Israel.I read your brief biography here in Israel you were high official and academician within a short time.I say well done.
    I am asking you about what is going on in Ethiopia.Is that comfortable to you about the displacement of the people ,the mass murder in Welega and the way Abiy Ahmed Ali,the darling of Israel is leading the country?
    Israel here seems comfortable with the handling of the problems in Ethiopia.Israel has opened its air for the Ethiopian Airlines, three flights a week during the night.Though I don’t have any idea about the motive of the night flight but this shows the partnership between Israel and Abiy Ahmed Ali’s government.When Herman Cohen established the TPLF government and designed the constitution of Ethiopia I am sure Israel was aware of the atmosphere.It was at this time Operation Solomon was carried out.In this case TPLF deserves recognition and help in time of need.
    Honourable Ambassador Aleligne Admasu your appointment at this time is historic.When Ethiopian born Ambassador is the eye witness of the atrocities that is carried out by the Ethiopian government it is historic.Mr Ambassador you have become the bridge between Israel and Ethiopia to carry out anything in Ethiopia.An African who was secretary of UNO,Kofi Anan, was the eye witness of Ruanda genocide.Genocide in Ethiopia is seen and ignored by the Ethiopian born Israel Ambassador,Aleligne Admasu.History is repeating itself in your time.
    History is the witness for Holocaust and it is remembered every year in Israel and around the world.Be sure the Ethiopian genocide will be stopped some day and will be remembered just like Holocaust and you will be remembered too.Speak when time is on your side.Save some people even if you had painful experience when you grew up in Ethiopia.If you harbor revenge then you lost your humanity.Be humane and help some to survive and the survivors will remember you from generation to generation.Remeber many Jews survived with the help of many nonjews.Be like one of them and be honored and remembered by Ethiopians .
    Finally Ambassador Aleligne Admasu here I list names of USA officials who had directly or indirectly are connected to Abiy Ahmed Ali’s and TPLF leadership.
    Samanta Power
    Herman Cohen
    Jeffery Feldman
    David Saturfield
    Blad Sherman
    Tracy Jacobson
    I am asking you again do you think this happened by coincidence ?Why all of them of the same stock including you in Ethiopia at this historical and critical time?I leave this to your conscious .I wish you success in your position.

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