The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has called on Ethiopia to free 2014 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom laureate Eskinder Nega along with all other journalists currently imprisoned in the country in an effort to end the rising global trend of imprisoning media personnel.
WAN-IFRA is a global organization for media outlets. A resolution was issued by the organization’s board, which met on the eve of the 66th World Newspaper Congress, 21st World Editors Forum and 24th World Advertising Forum in Turin, Italy. “WAN-IFRA calls for the immediate release of Eskinder Nega, imprisoned for 18 years in Ethiopia on terrorism-related charges simply for doing his job,” stated the resolution.
The statement called on all nations to recognize the importance of a free and independent press and to respect journalists’ contributions’ towards higher levels of transparency, accountability and good governance. WAN-IFRA stressed the need to end the abuse of anti-terrorism and national security legislation to jail journalists” and highlighted that the press should “be able to carry out its essential role unhindered.”
Recent data shows that at least 211 journalists are imprisoned worldwide, the second-highest number on record. Over half are being held in jail for charges related to alleged anti-state activities.
Around 1,000 editors, publishers, CEOs, managing directors and other senior media executives are attending the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and World Advertising Forum this week.
WAN-IFRA is the global organization of the world’s newspapers and news publishers; it is based in Paris, France and Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and 3,000 companies in over 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.