Global Journalists’ union, IFJ, rejected Eskinder Nega motion

(Daniel Berhane)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Congress rejected a motion on Eskinder Nega, according to this blog’s sources.

IFJ is the largest global union of journalists’ associations from 120 countries representing about 600,000 members. The IFJ Congress, held once in three years, took place in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this month.

Eskinder Nega’s case was raised in the latest Congress, as learnt from members who spoke to this blog on condition of anonymity.

A motion in support of Eskinder Nega was tabled at the Congress by Norwegian members of IFJ, according to the sources.

Eskinder Nega is an Ethiopian opposition activist detained in the second half of 2011 on suspicion that he was plotting an Egyptian-style revolution and related acts of violence in coordination with the pro-Eritrean groups Ginbot 7, OLF and ONLF – which are designated terrorist under Ethiopian laws.

The Federal High Court found Eskinder guilty of crimes of terrorism, high treason and espionage in mid-2012 and sentenced him with 18 years imprisonments.The Federal Supreme Court upheld the decision last month.

IFEX Congress questioned Eskinder Nega’s status as journalist.International Federation of Journalists World Congress 2013

The backers of the motion – who are mostly from Scandinavian countries – couldn’t provide satisfactory answer to the Congress, according to the sources.

It is to be noted that Scandinavians took an offence by Ethiopia’s decision to prosecute two Swedish journalists, who admitted illegally crossing her international boundary, caught accompanying ONLF fighters last year. The Swedish were released after spending a year in prison and after the President  approved their petitioned for pardon.

The IFEX Congress took a serious note of Eskinder Nega’s record as a holocaust glorifier. The Congress noted Eskinder used to publish of a series of pro Nazi and holocaust glorifying writings on his newspapers, according to the participants who spoke to this blog.

It is to be recalled that this blog revealed the genocide preaching writings on  Eskinder Nega’s now defunct newspapers by publishing both the original and translated versions last October and November.Eskinder-Nega-Ethiopia_thumb.jpg

The prevailing opinion in the Congress was that Eskinder Nega should be considered as politician rather than journalist. And, it is not prudent to associate IFJ with a terror convict given Eskinder’s track record promoting violence.

The Congress rejected the “Eskinder Nega motion” by an overwhelming vote, the sources disclosed.

It was learnt there were no similar motions about Eritrean journalists arrested for more than a decade in undisclosed locations without a single day in a court room.

Despite the rejection from the largest global union of journalists, the campaign against Ethiopia is not expected to stop.

Analysts indicate that the western activists crusade is fueled by Addis Ababa’s resistance to accept guidance from international NGOs and its rhetoric against neoliberalism.

Independent observes suggest that lest the Ethiopian government reconsider its ideological stand, it shall prepare itself for more ideologically motivated campaigns from western activists.

IFJ is – according to its website – the world’s largest organisation of journalists, representing around 600,000 members in more than 100 countries. It “promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists”. It is “opposed to discrimination of all kinds and condemns the use of media as propaganda or to promote intolerance and conflict”.


Check the Eskinder Nega archive for related posts.

Daniel Berhane

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