Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ethiopia Says "Defamatory" Reports Liable to Prosecution

People's Daily Online -- Ethiopia's Ministry of Justice said Tuesday any mass media outlet disseminating "fictitious report" that could not be substantiated by credible evidence would lead to prosecution under the country's press law.

Demissie Asfaw, senior official with the ministry, told journalists that any press, if engaged in defaming the reputation of an individual or a government official would be held accountable in accordance with the press law.

Asked how the law would regard reports allegedly "defame" government officials, the official said although the right to information is respected under the constitution, reporters are duty-bound to verify the accuracy of reports and should not disseminate unfounded reports.

If any press disseminates reports that defame the reputation and dignity of a government official or any individual, it would be held accountable, he said.

Any press outlet, engaged in disseminating reports that would " undermine public peace and incite violence and conflict," would also be held accountable, he said.


Ethiopia's Prime Minster Meles Zenawi (R) arrives at the Africa Union meeting in Sirte, Libya, July 5, 2005. Ethiopia's main opposition coalition accused Zenawi on Tuesday of provoking the post-election violence that killed 36 people. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

Meles Zenawi speaks to BBC's Stephen Sacker. SEE the interview.

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