Ethiopia : Meles Zenawi Threatens to Jam VOA, U.S fires back

By Oromsis Adula*

Last month, the Voice of America, a "multimedia broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors", complained that its Amharic broadcats were jammed in Ethiopia. Speaking to reporters in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian tyrant Meles Zenawi, threatens to jam the broadcast completely while comparing it to Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). RTLM is a radio station best known for inciting and excerbating the Rwandan Genocide.

Meles Zenawi likes to use Rwandan Genocide as a scare tactic. During the 2005, he used Interahamwe referring to opposition protesters. Interahamwe was the government backed Hutu militia mobilized to massacre their Tutsi counterparts.

Apparently, although this could just be a war of words, the State Department is fighting back. Clearly, the sun is shining on Meles Zenawi's repressive rule. It is up to the United States and other donor countries to take note and stop financing a dictatorial regime.

It is also to be remembered that following the contested 2005 Ethiopian election, the minority regime in Ethiopia effectively muzzled out independent press in the country. Many of the journalists who were instrumental in bringing to light the brutality of Ethiopian government were either in prison or forced to flee the country.

For the last eighteen years, despite the rhetoric of democratization, the Voice of America Radio and Germany's International Broadcasting Station, the Deutsche Welle Radio, served the people of Ethiopia as the only media outlets not controlled by government.

In a country of seventy plus million people, there is not a single free press to speak of. Afan Oromo, the lingua-franca of Ethiopia and the third most widely spoken language in Africa, is relegated to a limited propoganda service. Jamming the VOA broadcats will leave the whole country with vitually no voice or an alternative news source apart from the government controlled agitprop.

One can only wonder, what good does writing annual human rights reports and complaining about jammed radio broadcats do for the American government that continues to support the authoritarian regime in Addis Ababa. A powerful nation such as the United States, has the power to tell Ethiopian authorities, "they are on the wrong side of history" and also they have a stated will to stand "with those who seek justice, freedom and liberty"

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「広島に原爆」川越から傍受 通信社分室が政府に報告

「広島に原爆」川越から傍受 通信社分室が政府に報告(1/2ページ)




 終戦直前に広島へ投下された兵器の正体を、国内でいち早く「原子爆弾」と訳し、政府に報告したのは、埼玉県川越市で海外放送を傍受した通信社だった ――。戦後65年の今年、そんな裏面史を検証する調査が進んでいる。大本営は結局、しばらくは「新型爆弾」としか発表せず、放射能の脅威が知らされないま ま2次被爆の拡大につながったと指摘する専門家もいる。


 財団法人通信社史刊行会(現・新聞通信調査会)から1958年に発行された「通信社史」によると、こんな海外放送を傍受したのは、共同通信社や時事通信 社の前身だった同盟通信社の川越分室。45年8月7日午前1時半ごろだった。前日の広島の惨禍に関する重大情報で、日本語に訳され、直ちに東郷茂徳外相ら に伝達されたという。


 外電の傍受活動について調べている元共同通信記者の鳥居英晴氏(61)と、郷土史を探究する市内の作家龍神由美さん(52)が別々に検証作業を始めたと ころ、昨年から今年にかけて、市内の同じ「生き証人」にたどり着いた。分室の記者だった故・杉山市平氏の妻昭子(てるこ)さん(83)だ。



両記者の上司だった木下秀夫氏は、文芸春秋71年12月号への寄稿で、分室開設について「すべて極秘のうちに行われた」と記し、こう述懐している。 「トルーマン大統領の原爆投下声明も、ポツダム宣言も、日本の降伏受諾が先方に届いたことの確認も、その第一報はすべてここでキャッチされた」


 核開発の歴史に詳しい山崎正勝・東工大名誉教授(科学史)は、通信社からの情報が生かされなかったことも、2次被爆の拡大の一因とみる。「日本で戦時中 にウランの軍事利用を研究していた専門家は、残留放射能の危険性を知っていたが、軍や政府から知らされずに原爆投下直後の広島、長崎に入り、命を失った人 たちがたくさんいる」



Earlier, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Ethiopia had been testing jamming equipment, but there had been no formal decision to block the US station.

The Amharic Service has experienced interference since late February.
Mr Meles also compared the VOA's transmissions to broadcasts in Rwanda in the mid-1990s that incited genocide.

"We have for some time now been trying to beef up our capacity to deal with this, including... jamming," Mr Meles replied

Ethiopia: Message from VOAIn a statement, VOA director Danforth Austin said that any comparison of VOA programming to Rwandan broadcasts inciting genocide in the 1990s was "incorrect and unfortunate".
"The VOA deplores jamming as a form of media censorship wherever it may occur," he said, adding that the station's Amharic Service was required by law to provide accurate and objective information.

The VOA and other foreign media organizations say broadcasts in Amharic - the country's most widely spoken language - have been jammed around elections in the past.

According to 2nd August 2010 message from VOA.

Greetings from Voice of America!

Over recent months we’ve appreciated hearing from you about our Horn of Africa broadcasts to our Ethiopian and Eritrean audiences. For 28 years Voice of America has broadcast uncensored news to both countries, but that service has been recently interrupted by the Ethiopian government. And they have blocked access to our Horn of Africa web site for all who live in Ethiopia.

We value your views and during a crucial time in Ethiopian domestic affairs, we wanted to offer you by e-mail a new way to receive our news and feature programs.

Our broadcasters continue to work diligently to reach many parts of the world with news in Amharic, Afaan Oromoo and Tigrigna, but most listeners in Ethiopia cannot get that news now.

So, we invite you to receive the Horn of Africa news Monday through Friday.

You can subscribe at http://www1.voanews.com/amharic/email/

If you cannot access our site, click on http://www.melkamzena.com. You will be able to hear a recent broadcast in any of our three languages. Or, click on “newsletter” and enter your e-mail address and Monday through Friday you’ll receive links to our top stories of the day about Ethiopia.

Your subscription to our Horn newsletter is one of many ways VOA is reaching out to our loyal listeners during this communications crisis.

We invite you to forward this e-mail to anyone in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world who would like to receive our Horn of Africa newsletter.