WikiLeaks-named Ethiopian reporter in unredacted cable flees country in fear

The Guardian reports:

An Ethiopian reporter has fled the country after being named in a WikiLeaks cable, in what a media rights group said was the first instance of one of the leaks causing direct repercussions for a journalist.

Wikileaks recently published all its cables unredacted, naming sources that were removed by partner media organisations, including the Guardian.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said reporter Argaw Ashine fled at the weekend after being interrogated over the identity of a government source mentioned in a leaked 2009 US cable. Argaw was the local correspondent for Kenya’s Nation Media Group.

The cable said Argaw was told by an unnamed source that the government would target six journalists from a newspaper seen as critical of the government. That paper closed later that year after citing harassment and intimidation.

Joel Simon, the New York-based CPJ’s executive director, said: “The threat we sought to avert through redactions of initial WikiLeaks cables has now become real. A citation in one of these cables can easily provide repressive governments with the perfect opportunity to persecute or punish journalists and activists.

“WikiLeaks must take responsibility for its actions and do whatever it can to reduce the risk to journalists named in its cables. It must put in place systems to ensure that such disclosures do not reoccur.”

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