Eritrea second on list of worst jailers of journalists in Africa

Association

In late November 2019, Eritrea accused Qatar of planning to assassinate influential Eritrean leaders, adding that Qatar was supporting opposition groups and encouraging anti government protests in Eritrea. Qatar denied the allegations. Earlier in November, Eritrea announced it had uncovered evidence of a 2011 US plot to overthrow the government in Asmara. In a statement released by the ministry of information, the government also accused Israel of helping to demonise Eritrea in the eyes of the world although no evidence was provided to support its claims. These accusations were largely seen by critics as a means to drum up domestic support for the government, especially since the country made peace with neighbouring Ethiopia, long touted as a bogeyman by the despotic regime.

Expression

On 23rd October 2019, it was reported that the German Foreign Ministry defended the importance of press freedom after Berlin’s ambassador to Eritrea was summoned over DW’s (Germany’s state-owned international broadcaster) media coverage of the country. Eritrea accused the news outlet of engaging in an "unbridled smear campaign".Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel criticised the way the country's peace process with neighbouring Ethiopia was portrayed and the reporting of the country's system of national service, which conscripts most citizens into the military and workforce indefinitely.

In December 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists released its list of worst jailers of journalists; Eritrea was the second worst in Africa, second only to Egypt. Of 39 journalists jailed in sub-Saharan Africa, the bulk remain in Eritrea, where most have not been heard from for nearly two decades.