Journalists and publishers protested proposed new restrictions on the press when Ethiopian Election Board Chairman Merga Bekana unveiled a draft code of conduct for coverage of the May 23 national elections.
The journalists charge that the government's electoral body does not have the constitutional mandate to issue legislation. The federal government last year adopted new regulations that created greater government control of media practices and set out punishments for violations of the regulations.
The reporters, editors and publishers attending yesterday's meeting called the NEB's draft law repressive because it puts preconditions of consent in order to secure accreditation. According to one provision in the NEB draft code, members of the media are required to sign the law if they wish to get accredited.
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