Visiting French reporter held in Addis Ababa must be freed at once, says RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of a visiting French reporter working for the Paris-based news website Africa Intelligence, who has been detained arbitrarily for the past four days in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The journalist, Antoine Galindo, 36, was arrested by plainclothes police in Addis Ababa on 22 February, nine days after arriving in Ethiopia on assignment for Africa Intelligence to cover an African Union summit in the capital. He had press accreditation and had notified the Ethiopian Media Authority of his intention to cover local news stories.

 RSF has learned that Galindo was arrested while meeting with alleged members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a political organisation opposed to the Ethiopian government. On the basis of this meeting, he is accused of seeking to “create chaos and violence,” as are the presumed OLF members themselves. Sources close to the case say he was brought before a judge on 24 February, that a police investigation is under way and that he is due to have another hearing on 1 March.

 Indigo Publications Group, which owns Africa Intelligence, has issued a statement condemning Galindo’s “unjustified arrest” and the “spurious accusations” against him, which it said were “not based on any tangible evidence that might justify this extended deprivation of liberty.”

In a country where the authorities are trying to control the narrative of recent social and political tensions, there is growing hostility towards independent journalism that seeks to cover any national issues, and the authorities are also targeting foreign media and journalists. Antoine Galindo’s totally arbitrary detention is a terrible example. We call on the Ethiopian authorities to release this journalist at once.

Sadibou Marong
Director of RSF’s Sub-Saharan Africa bureau

The authorities have been harassing journalists since fighting intensified in the Amhara region and the government disbanded regional military forces last year. RSF noted an earlier wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists and suspensions of media, including foreign media, as part of a response by the federal authorities to media criticism from May 2022 to August 2023.

Several journalists arrested in these crackdowns have been held in military camps. They include Radio Tirita FM co-founder Yehualashet Zerihun, who was held without charge at the Awash Arba camp in Afar state in September and October 2023, and Ethio News editor Belay Manaye, who was transferred to this camp in August 2023 and is still held there without being charged.

Ethiopia is ranked 130th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index.

130/ 180
Score : 47.7
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