Prior to his exile to Canada in 2002, journalist Aaron Berhane was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the popular weekly newspaper Setit in 1997, in his native country Eritrea. However, after serving his people for more than five years, the medal he had to receive from his government was imprisonment; fortunately he was not there to receive it. Had it not been his fate to escape imprisonment in September 2001, when the government closed down all private newspapers thereby jailing its editors, Aaron would have not been here today to receive this prestigious award. Hence, his award is reminiscence to all our colleagues, who are still languishing behind bars for more than eight painful years. Such are the people destined to die in confinement by an inhuman government in Eritrea.
Journalist Aaron Berhane, after having been deprived at home to practice his profession freely, in 2005, launched an Eritrean community newspaper Meftih. And this is his second time to receive such a prestigious award in just four years. Yet the PFDJ representatives sponsored by the repressive regime in Asmara, who are desperately attempting to silence the only mouth piece of the Eritrean community in Canada. AEJE condemns their act in the strongest terms and call upon the government of Canada to be wary of such individuals.
We the members of the Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) applaud his achievement. His achievement is a blow to those who wish to suppress him and a triumph to all of us, who are fighting for the noble cause of freedom of expression. At last, we would like also to extend our congratulations to the Eritrean community in Canada, for the success of Meftih newspaper is their success as well.
Association of Eritrean journalists in exile (AEJE)