Immoral request from Immoral Regime
28 June 2011
In the last 20 years, Ethiopia has been the “Gulag Archipelago” of Africa for journalists, publishers, bloggers, independent writers and foreign correspondents. In fact, in global press freedom indexes, Ethiopia is ranked in the same bracket with the exclusive group of nations such as, Zimbabwe and North Korea whose names are synonymous with “Enemies of the Press”. Today, the regime of PM Meles Zenawi controls the Ethiopia’s main radio station, the electronic and, the print media, and also the only television station in the country.
This absolute control of the media has stripped 85 million Ethiopians of their right to obtain information. Ironically, today after 20 years of preaching democracy; Zenawi’s regime has closed the doors of all public offices in the nation against independent journalists, and such a closure has denied the Ethiopian people of their rights to know public information granted by the constitution.
Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world where the contrast between its written constitution and the daily acts of the ruling regime is as different as day and night. The 1994 constitution of Ethiopia guarantees Freedom of expression that includes seeking, receiving, and imparting information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, but today the same regime that authored the constitution is arresting journalists and is labeling citizens that support opposition parties as alleged members or supporters of “terrorist” groups.
Just last week, in one of the most dramatic move unseen and unheard anywhere, the regime in Ethiopia shamelessly asked the VOA board of governors to censor the Voice of America Broadcasting to Ethiopia in three different languages. In its verbal and written request submitted to the VOA board of governors, the regime of Meles Zenawi made an official request to the Voice of America to censor interviews, opinions and news analysis of opposition parties in its broadcasting, or face jamming of its radio and satellite signals. It is well remembered that just one year ago, PM Meles Zenawi compared the VOA Amharic program to Radio “des Mille Collines”, the hate media that incited genocide in Rwanda; and vowed that he would order jamming of VOA broadcasts.
In this immoral request, the Ethiopian regime asked the VOA Board of Governors to permanently ban a list of political dissidents, opposition party leaders, and former members of parliament, academicians, civic society leaders and foreign government officials from all of VOA’s programming targeted to Ethiopia. All in all, the Ethiopian regime that gets the lion’s share of its financial aid form the US government, gave the US government an ultimatum to start censoring its radio programming to Ethiopia, or else face an outright jamming of its radio and satellite signals.
Ginbot 7 strongly believes that all of the above crimes of the Ethiopian regime would not have been possible without western financial assistance. The recent interactions of the Ethiopian regime and the VOA board of governess have clearly demonstrated the intention of the regime in Addis Ababa. If there is a government humiliated by the actions of the Ethiopian regime, it is the US government, if there is a government that finance’s its own humiliation, it is the US government, and if there is a government that can influence the Ethiopian regime and play a significant role in democratizing Ethiopia, we also believe that it is the United States government by absolutely rejecting immoral request from the immoral regime.
Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy Public Relations Office
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