The sting of impunity: A live chat with exiled journalist Aaron Berhane

Susan McClelland, author of The Bite of the Mango, interviewed Aaron Berhane, a former recipient of a CJFE Journalists in Distress Grant and Eritrean journalist.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What: A live chat between award-winning journalist and author Susan McClelland and Aaron Berhane — an exiled Eritrean journalist, now living in Toronto, who has experienced impunity firsthand.
Date: November 19, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Hashtag: Viewers were able to ask questions and follow along with the event using #cjfelive and take action as part of the campaign for the International Day to End Impunity with #IDEI

Having trouble viewing the liveblog? Watch it here.

What is impunity?

A culture of impunity is one in which intimidation, threats, attacks and murders go unpunished, resulting in a climate of injustice and insecurity for those seeking to express themselves. The International Day to End Impunity is a call to action to demand justice for those who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression and to shed light on the issue of impunity.

As part of campaign to end impunity, CJFE held a conversation with Aaron Berhane, an exiled Eritrean journalist now living in Toronto. Berhane was interviewed by award-winning investigative journalist Susan McClelland, who has written extensively on the subject of human rights around the world.

Berhane is a former recipient of CJFE’s Journalists in Distress fund who was forced to flee his home country of Eritrea (ranked worst in the world for press freedom on Reporters Without Borders’ 2013 World Press Freedom Index) in 2002 after his newspaper, Setit, published an article critical of the national government. While Aaron was able to escape the country, many of his colleagues were arrested and detained in Eiraeiro, Eritrea’s highly secretive and notoriously brutal prison for political prisoners. Such prisoners are held without charge and many die while their persecutors go unpunished.

Our November 19 live chat, The sting of impunity: A live chat with exiled journalist Aaron Berhane, presented an opportunity to hear Berhane's first hand account of the experience of impunity, the perils that he faced in Eritrea, and his pursuit of free expression. Be sure to take action to end impunity until November 23.

Further reading

More information about Aaron Berhane and Susan McClelland.

The state of press freedom in Eritrea, by Jackie Marchildon.

"Writers in Exile: What Shuts Them Up?", by Aaron Berhane.