Ethiopia yesterday denied it was jamming Deutsche Welle’s (DW) Amharic language radio shows, after the state-funded German broadcaster appealed for its signal to be restored. Deutsche Welle issued a statement at the weekend saying its broadcasts in Amharic, the predominant language in Ethiopia, had been blocked since 6 April. “This has lead DW officials to believe that it is a concentrated effort to block critical international media,” the statement said. “The Ethiopian administration is apparently concerned that the so-called Jasmine Revolution in North Africa will spread into their country.”
Government spokesman Bereket Simon told Reuters there was no jamming of services to the Horn of Africa nation. “Deutsche Welle is heard by only 1 percent of Ethiopians. An independent study (by Electoral Reform International Services) confirmed it,” Bereket told Reuters. “We know Deutsche Welle is not ethical but I can assure you, with only 1 to 1.5 percent listenership, why should the Ethiopian government care to jam it?”
In March last year, two months before a disputed election result returned him to power, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi ordered the jamming of US-funded broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) and sparked a diplomatic row. Ethiopia has frequently clashed with DW and VOA and regularly accuses both of broadcasting propaganda that could destabilise the country.
DW said its reports on the recent arrests of more than 100 ethnic Oromos could have motivated the jamming. Ethiopia’s government on Thursday said it was preparing to charge more than 100 people it says are members of the outlawed rebel group the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
International press freedom advocacy groups say the Ethiopian government intimidates and harasses critical journalists, a charge the government denies. Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries and most of its population has no access to satellite dishes or the Internet. VOA and Germany’s Deutsche Welle are the only foreign broadcasters producing Amharic radio programmes.
(Source: Reuters/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)
earlier post April 9
Deutsche Welle Ethiopian service jammed again
Deutsche Welle (DW) has condemned the latest case of jamming of its Amharic service for Ethiopia. Germany’s international broadcast has appealed to the Ethiopian administration to ensure that an undisturbed shortwave signal remain available for listeners in the region.
DW’s shortwave signal for Ethiopia has been jammed since April 6. Programming from the Voice of America has also been affected. This has lead DW officials to believe that it is a concentrated effort to block critical international media. Several individual broadcasters were also jammed in Ethiopia in May 2010 around the time of local elections.
The latest case of jamming is occurring at a point in time in which more than 200 from the alleged opposition of the Oromo Group have been arrested and journalists who have voiced criticism of the administration have been silenced. The Ethiopian administration is apparently concerned that the so-called Jasmine Revolution in North Africa will spread into their country. A call for protest has been popping up on social media platforms over the last few weeks using the motto “Beka” (enough).
After being approached by Deutsche Welle on Thursday, 7April, a spokesman from the Ethiopian government has denied any jamming attempts. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has publicly acknowledged the jamming of international broadcasters in the past.
German development organizations will be meeting on Monday, 11 April in Bonn ahead of the bilateral negotiations between Germany and Ethiopia – under the direction of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). For the first time, DW will use this opportunity to report on the current media landscape in Ethiopia and expand on jamming and the restrictions put on its correspondents in the country.
DW has been broadcasting its Amharic service in Ethiopia since 1965 and is along with the Voice of America the most popular international source of information.
(Source: Deutsche Welle/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)