Five of the largest selling magazines and an affiliated newly-started newspaper are facing fresh criminal charges, the government disclosed today.
The vaguely-worded statement from the Ministry of Justice indicated that the six periodicals and their the publishers are charged due to “repeated acts of incitement and dissemination of false rumors intended to cause a violent overthrow of the constitutional order and to undermine the public trust on the government”.
The statement categorically blamed these – and other unnamed periodicals – for “engaging in incitements that could undermine national security, encouraging and glorifying and encouraging terrorism, inciting ethnic and racial hate, and defaming public officials and institutions”.
The five magazines and publishers facing charges are:
* Addis Guday Magazine, published weekly by Rose publishing P.L.C.;
* Lomi Magazine, published weekly by Dadimos publishing P.L.C;
* Enque Magazine, published two-weekly by Alemayehu publishing P.L.C;
* Fact Magazine, published weekly by Yofa publishing P.L.C; and
* Jano Magazine, published two-weekly by Asnake publishing P.L.C;
The sixth one is a newly-started weekly newspaper, Afro-Times, which is affiliated to Lomi Magazine.
The five magazines are among the highest selling magazines in the nation, according to a data HornAffairs obtained from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority a few months ago.
The magazines were among the seven magazines that were the subject of a controversial “analysis of private magazines coverage”, conducted by the government last January. (Later obtained and published by HornAffairs (here)).
The statement from the Ministry of Justice claimed that the decision to lodge criminal charges was taken after several attempts to convince the magazines to change their ways. It also claimed that the public has been demanding for legal measures through various channels.
The government will continue lodging crime charges against other media outlets and publishers, the statement added.