Nine people working in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region have been arrested by local authorities, their employers Nisir International Broadcasting Corporation and Ashara said.
The media organizations, which cover Ethiopian news via YouTube channels, said the arrests were made following raids on their studios in Amhara.
Nisir said in a statement that four of its employees, journalists and administrative staff, were arrested and their equipment confiscated on Thursday and Friday in the town of Bahir Dar by local police and security forces. Two of them are reportedly in a prison in the regional capital, and the other two about 185 kilometers away, the organization said.
“We call on the government to immediately release our journalists and return our equipment,” Nisir wrote.
The other media outlet, Ashara, said five of its members were arrested Thursday in a raid on its Amhara offices and were being held in a detention center outside Bahir Dar.
“We have received no warning, or prior information, that this mass arrest of our staff was about to happen,” Ashara observed in a statement.
Reporter without Borders has deplored the new arrests, saying that the trend of rising arrests of journalists is worrying professional organizations, such as the Ethiopian Association of Mass Media Professionals, which has called on the government to end the imprisonment of journalists.