Editorial Statement of OLF
Though the International Freedom of Press Day is celebrated worldwide on September 28, 2007, the people living in Ethiopia have been denied the right to celebrate this great day by the tyrannical regime. Today all radio outlets including religious stations are under a strict supervision of Woyyane cadres and daily broadcast dramas are prepared to deceive the people, and disseminate malicious propaganda. Therefore, instead of serving the people all media outlets fully function as TPLF/EPRDF organ.
Ethiopian Radio broadcasts by the name of Ethiopian Government (Woyane) in Amharic, Tigrign, Oromo, English and Arabic for the purpose of disseminating TPLF propaganda. Radio Fana is another station used by the government cadres to distribute propaganda in different languages of the country. The same way, Radio Bahirdar and Radio Voice of Woyane is the organ of ANDM (subordinate party of EPRDF) from Bahirdar and Woyane from Mekele, respectively. Radio 97.1 FM, which is owned by Mimi Sebhatu, a TPLF member, is used for the same propaganda like other radio station in Amharic language.
TPLF, its members or families of the member’s also own newspapers printed in Ethiopia. The papers are written by Woyanes and prepared to attempt to convince the majority with their false democracy. These newspapers are:
Addis Zemen – published in Amharic and owned by Woyane government body
Abyotawi Democracy – published in Amharic and owned by Woyane;
Bakur – owned and distributed by ANDM (EPRDF Subordinate party);
Voice of Southern People – is owned by Woyane with a pretext of Southern people and published in Amharic. Bersiisa Published in Oromo Language by OPDO (EPRDF subordinate party). Ifttin is another newspaper printed in Oromia under a supervision of Woyyane with a budget from Mimi Sebhatu, a member of TPLF. This Amharic language newspaper carries different false military communiqué and used to harass and terrorize the civilian population.
Reporter – Published in Amharic and English and owned by Aragahwi Barihee who is a member of central committee of TPLF. Ethiopian Herald and Al Addis are also owned by members of TPLF and publish Woyane propaganda in English and Arabic, respectively. Woyane also publishes Addis Lisan and Wagagan under a cover of Finfinne ( Addis Ababa) administration and military news, respectively.
The Woyyane anti Free Press policy was exposed when the government started to eliminate all independent newspapers that provided its readers with reliable information and exposed the false propaganda of TPLF. Some of these news papers were Urjii newspaper printed in Oromo and Minilik, Asqual, Addis Admas, Nastanet, Ethiopis, Wanchif, Sefenebelbal, Tobiya, Mastet and Nation were some of the news papers printed in Amharic.
In Ethiopia, today, there is no single media outlet like TV, radio or newspapers that are free of TPLF control and scrutiny. Hence the people have no chance of getting balanced and genuine information. This shows that the autocratic and cruel TPLF government fears above all free and independent media outlets. Due to this frustration, Woyyane government is disrupting and blocking all Medias from outside Ethiopia that provides the people with up-to-date and balanced information on the nature of the government, political and economic situation of the Horn of Africa and the World.
Woyane government is blocking access to websites administered by opposition parties struggling for the freedom of the people of Ethiopia. Furthermore, since August 2007 SBO (Voice of Oromo Liberation), Radio Huriya, and Radio Tensaye are disrupted by Woyane from being clearly heard in the country. International radio broadcasts like VOA and DW are completely blocked from time to time and cannot be received in Ethiopia.
It has been a public secret that the Ethiopian government has invested millions of dollars to build blocking station around Addis Ababa. At any standard the government expenses to block independent radio programs is unjustifiable, especially when this money can save many starving people.
The dictatorial Mallas Zenawi government has jailed, without do process of law, many journalists who were providing genuine information. Some are killed, tortured and many of them were forced to flee their country. As a result, there is no free press that entertains different ideas and airs the problems facing the country and the people. The Ethiopian people have spent the last 16 years listening only to government empty propaganda.
All this indicates that the People of Ethiopia have no information about their neighbors and the World. Therefore the people of Ethiopia have no clue about the International Freedom of Press Day and cannot celebrate with other peoples of the World. Hence, it is historical and legal obligation to denounce such ant-free press autocratic and fascist action of the government of Melles Zenawi.
Editorial Statement of OLF
October 3, 2007