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. The latest infringement has made it difficult for Deutsche Welle to deliver fair and balanced news about the political, economical and social developments in the target area.
DW’s shortwave signal for Ethiopia has been jammed since April 6. Programming from 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, April 7, 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, April 11 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 Voice of America the most popular international source of information.