Eritrean authorities arrest Said Abdulhai a well known Eritrean journalist and official.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010 12:34
Print PDF

Sources from Asmara confirm the arrest of Said Abdulhai, a well-known Eritrean journalist and official, by the Eritrean authorities. He was arrested last week. The reasons of his arrest are not yet known. But the Eritrean government is widely known for being the “Enemy of the Press”.

Said Abdulhai is a veteran of the armed struggle for independence, and he was one of the founders of the media department during the post-independence years.

At some point, as head of the press department of the Ministry of Information, he was responsible for the state newspaper, Hadas Ertra, Eritrea Al-Hadisa and Eritrea Profile – published in Tigrinya, Arabic and English respectively. The Eritrean news agency, which is the main source for local news in the country, was also run by him.   

Said Abdelhay is a graduate from the University of Benghazi.

Under the current dictatorial PFDJ government dissenting views are not tolerated.

Eritrea is the only African country to have no privately-owned news media. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) described it as one of the world's leading jailers of journalists; while another press watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, notes that it is "the biggest prison" for journalists.

The government closed the private press in 2001 for "endangering national security" and arrested many journalists after several publications printed the dissenting views of some National Assembly members. Some of them are thought to have died in detention.