Press Statement, Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC, December 21, 2011
The United States notes with concern an Ethiopian court’s recent conviction of two Swedish journalists on a terrorism-related charge, in which the verdict appears to equate reporting about terrorism with support for terrorism. The court also found the Swedish journalists guilty of entering Ethiopia illegally, which they had not disputed.
We recognize the authority of the judicial process in Ethiopia and respect the Ethiopian Government’s legitimate concerns about terrorism and the need to protect the country’s national security. However, as we have made clear in our ongoing human rights dialogue with the Ethiopian Government, a free press is an important element of democratic society.
We will continue to monitor the ongoing trials of journalists on terrorism-related charges, and will continue our dialogue with the Ethiopian Government on press freedoms.