Former Bloomberg correspondent deported
Former correspondent of Bloomberg, William Davison, who has been reporting from Addis Ababa, said on Wednesday that he was forcefully expelled from Ethiopia by immigration officials while he was seeking a working license to pursue his journalism role for another British media outlet.
Davison has been working here in Addis Ababa since 2010 as a correspondent for the New York City-based media outlet, Bloomberg, before his contract was terminated in early 2017. Since then he said that he applied for media accreditation from the Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) to enable him to write for the London Based The Guardian's Global Development section.
In a statement he first posted on his Facebook timeline on Wednesday, Davison said that immigration officials came to his home on Tuesday and kept him in detention for the whole day before he was deported to his country the same night.
“That marked the end of a tortuous 7-month period during which the government has failed to grant me accreditation to report for The Guardian's Global Development section. In that time, I have maintained a self-interested silence about an unsatisfactory process, but I am now keen to get it out in the open,” Davison said in statement posted on Facebook.
He further indicated that his application for the residence Correspondence role was rejected a month ago “just a vague declaration that it was a ‘decision of the government’".
According to his statement, he had left the country again on February 3, as his Journalist Visa was expiring and re-entered on a Tourist Visa on February 13, “with the intention of holding meetings to try and sort out the situation or at least to understand why my application had been rejected”.
“What my treatment demonstrates once again is a lack of appreciation of professional journalism and a failure of various government institutions and officials to follow established procedure in anything like a transparent manner. As such, these are issues that are relevant not only to all journalists in Ethiopia, but for anybody interacting with the authorities, and indeed all Ethiopians,” he added.
Having underlined that he was not given a specific reason for his deportation, he said “however, I have been on a Tourist Visa since Feb. 13, and an immigration official declared that I was not a tourist”.
Davison is not the first foreign journalist to be deported by the authorities. In 2006, with a decision of the then Minister of Information, Bereket Simon, a correspondent from AP (Associated Press), Anthony Michell, was expelled from the country within 24 hours. After his deportation he left for Kenya but he died in 2007 due to a plane crash in Southern Cameroon – a Kenyan Air (KQ) that had been bound to Nairobi.
Similarly, Al Jazeera reporter, Mohammed Ado had also been deported. Other five journalists had been expelled since 2006.
Repeated attempts by The Reporter to get information from the GCAO regarding the matter was not successful until press time.