The safety and protection of journalists working in countries in Africa is one of the topics being discussed at the meeting of international journalists in Addis Ababa on 1-3 September at the African Union commission headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

35 unions, including the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ), are taking part in the conference. The workshop on safety will draw on real-life experiences in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. It is hoped that the workshop will be able to draw up a safety code for the protection of working journalists to present to the African Union ministers of communication.

However the safety of independent journalists and newspapers in Ethiopia itself has come under question recently since Addis Neger, a popular Amharic weekly critical of the government, was forced to close at the end of 2009.

Another Amharic independent weekly published in Addis Ababa, Awramba Times, has also been under pressure and its editor-in-chief, Woubshet Taye, resigned in May this year, just before the general elections, after he came under attack from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) for publishing articles critical of the government.

The offices of the Awramba Times were vandalised on 17 August and on 27 August Addis Neger online, which is now publishing an online edition from Europe, reported that the Awramba Times has been asked to reveal its news sources and report its sales and advertising revenue to the EBA.

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