Ethiopian government officials are considering the possibility of banning the Associated Press from Ethiopia. The news outlet's recent reports about the country have angered government officials.
AP's new correspondent Anita Powell arrived in Ethiopia last week but hasn't yet received her accreditation from the Ministry of Information. Accreditation, the ministry's jargon for controlling foreign journalists in Ethiopia, usually takes two weeks. Government sources who requested anonymity said Ms. Powell's case may be more complicated as Bereket Simon, the Prime Minister's advisor and right hand man, has intervened to temporarily block her accreditation.
"We are specifically instructed by Bereket not to give her the license to report from this country until further orders come from him, " a Ministry of Information staffer told this blog.
AP had recently published several articles which had put the Ethiopian government in state of disarray. According to the sources the story of secret prisons in Ethiopia and the alleged involvement of Ethiopian troops in war crimes had particularly infuriated government officials. Both stories were written from Nairobi.
"Some officials think banning AP from Ethiopia will only tarnish Ethiopia's already bad reputation of not respecting freedom of the press and won't stop the news organization from publishing reports which present the government unfavourably," one government source said. There are, however, hardliners who think that AP should be punished for what it has done.
AP's former correspondent in Ethiopia, Anthony Mitchell, was kicked out of Ethiopia last year for defaming the country. Yet his deportation hasn't stopped him from breaking stories which have presented Ethiopian government in the way its officials want to avoid.
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