Rights groups decry Ethiopia’s arrest of Reuters journalist

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Media rights groups are protesting the Ethiopian government’s arrest of journalists, saying it indicates the erosion of press freedom in the country.

Kumerra Gemechu, a video journalist for the Reuters news agency, was arrested on December 24 at his home in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and is being detained for 14 days for police investigations, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Kumerra’s work demonstrates his professionalism and impartiality, and we are aware of no basis for his detention,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J Adler said in a statement on Monday.

Kumerra’s arrest follows the beating of Reuters photographer Tiksa Negari by two Ethiopian federal police officers on December 16, the statement said.

“This is the latest example of how press freedom is fast eroding under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate,” said Angela Quintal, Africa programme coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.