September 20, 2012 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Eritrea's exile journalists appeal to international community

The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE), a Reporters Without Borders partner organization, issued a press release on 18 September to mark the 11th anniversary of the Eritrean government's closure of the country's privately-owned media and the start of a wave of arrests of many of its journalists.

The release calls on the European Union and United Nations to enforce the sanctions on Eritrean government officials. It also calls on the International Criminal Court to "pay a particular attention" to President Issaias Afeworki, who is classified as a "Predator of Press Freedom" by Reporters Without Borders.

Read the AEJE press release in English:

The political purge that President Afeworki launched on 18 September 2001 transformed Eritrea into a totalitarian country by jailing reformists and journalists and ending media independence.

The country he rules with an iron hand is now Africa's biggest prison for journalists and the fourth biggest in the world, after China, Iran and Syria. It has been ranked last in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for the past five years.

Last month, Reporters Without Borders revealed that three of the journalists who were arrested in September and October 2001 died in the course of the past few years because of the appalling conditions in Eiraeiro, the prison camp where they were being held.

Four others previously suffered the same fate or committed suicide in the prison.

Find out more about freedom of information in Eritrea.

See the list of journalists imprisoned in Eritrea.

Photo Isaias Afewerki (Reuters / Ho New)