5 December 2007
The 16th Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France prize awarded today in Paris
Eritrean journalist Seyoum Tsehaye has been chosen as “Journalist
of the Year 2007” by Reporters Without Borders – Fondation
JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR, who through their work, attitude and principled stands have shown a strong commitment to freedom of information.
The laureate is the Eritrean Seyoum Tsehaye. Now 54, Seyoum Tsehaye began his career in journalism in the mountains alongside the separatist guerrillas of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). After independence, he became head of national television and then of the radio, before resigning in protest at the authoritarian direction taken by his former companion in arms, President Issaias Afeworki.
He then began to work for the irreverent privately-owned press which widely proclaimed its democratic demands, following the second war with Ethiopia (1998-2000). He was arrested in the street on 21 September 2001, the first day of a major round-up and imprisonment of reformers within the sole party, the best known journalists and all those who demonstrated their opposition to the iron rule of the head of state. There are concerns about his state of health.
It is not known where he is being held. He has never been allowed a family visit or a lawyer and has never been charged or appeared before a court.