Journalists’ Safety in the World’s Most Restricted Regime: The Case of Eritrea, Northeast Africa

Indira Srinivasan

Abstract


The TV station located within the premises of the Ministry of Information in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, went out off air on the 21st of January 2013 for the entire day. There were reports that 200 mutinied soldiers seized the station with the help of two tankers compelling the station director to announce the release of political detainees and journalists, who were held since independence, and demanded the implementation of ratified constitution. It was indeed a demand in pending for the past two decades, ever since Eritrea turned into a free nation. The mutiny came to an end with the soldiers surrendering their arms.

     In February 2009, the government of Eritrea raided a tiny radio station located in the downtown Asmara, adjacent to the Ministry of Education, detaining the entire staff and crew of Radio Bana that broadcasts programmes for adults and neo-literates. They were arrested without any charges and were never produced in the court. Six journalists of Radio Bana were released by January 2015 after prolonged imprisonment. These two incidents provide only a glimpse of the ongoing, never-ending, government-sponsored terror on the journalists of Eritrea.

     In a country where free political debate, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, right to academics, and freedom of religion are denied and suppressed, it is absolutely not possible to study journalist’s safety. Based on fieldwork and personal interviews with journalists, students and citizens serving indefinite national service, the study aims to illustrate the government- sponsored terror on the people of Eritrea in general and journalists in particular.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5789/10-2-269

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