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Ethiopia revokes New York Times’ reporter’s accreditation

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The Ethiopian authorities have revoked the accreditation of a foreign correspondent working for The New York Times, the newspaper confirmed late Thursday.

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The US-based newspaper said Simon Marks, an Irish journalist living in Ethiopia, had his media accreditation cancelled last week, “days after he interviewed victims of sexual assault and terrified residents in the conflict-torn Tigray region”.

It said Marks — who has filed a series of hard-hitting reports on the war in the northern Tigray region — was accused of “unbalanced” reporting and “fake news”.

Ethiopia’s government has sought to control the narrative of the conflict since it began in November, imposing tough restrictions on journalists.

However, that has become increasingly difficult as journalists and human rights groups have uncovered growing evidence of atrocities committed by Ethiopian soldiers, as well as Eritrean troops who are also fighting on the government’s behalf in Tigray.

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The revelations have embarrassed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and who plans to hold an election early next month. They have also contributed to growing international diplomatic pressure on Addis Ababa.

A number of Ethiopian journalists and translators working for a range of international media organisations — including AFP, Reuters, the BBC and the Financial Times — have been detained while doing their jobs in recent months.

The paper’s top foreign editor Michael Slackman accused Ethiopia of seeking to “silence an independent press” and called for Marks’ accreditation to be reinstated.

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