Technology experts in Washington, DC say the recent blocking of Voice of America radio and Internet broadcasts by the Ethiopian government is likely to have a negative long term impact.
The Ethiopian government recently began jamming VOA radio and Internet broadcasts in the lead up to the 23 May national elections.”If the government wants to remain accountable to its people, it has to lift its hand from suppressing independent media outlets,” said Getachew Gebretsadiq, a software engineer from Emerging Media Group.
The prime minster of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, accuses VOA of broadcasting destabilizing propaganda and he has said publicly he is seeking ways to completely block it.
Voice of America recently invited a panel of technology experts to discuss the jamming of VOA broadcasts. Tigrigna`s People to People program host Tewelde Weldegebriel asked them to explain how Internet blocking and radio jamming works.
“Nowadays, there are expensive softwares that can prevent internet blockage, but big organizations like VOA may not want to engage in such war games,” said Semere Taezaz, a former private newspaper editor in Eritrea, now a senior IT technician in Washington DC area.
The panelists agreed jamming radio broadcasts by Ethiopian government is “a severe act of censorship” which can only serve to increase the outrage of people in that country.