Meles Zenawi’s VOA blacklist unveiled – By Abebe Gellaw

July 20th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Secret document reveals regime’s intoler ance to critical views. In Ethiopia freedom of expression was declared 20 years ago, when the military junta of Mengistu Hailemariam crumbled and Meles Zenewi came to power singing and preaching about liberty and democracy. (more…)

Secret document reveals regime’s intoler ance to critical views. In Ethiopia freedom of expression was declared 20 years ago, when the military junta of Mengistu Hailemariam crumbled and Meles Zenewi came to power singing and preaching about liberty and democracy. After two decades in power, Meles Zenawi does not even tolerate the opinion of others, including those he has forced into exile. He wants to be the only person in the country to speak his mind with arrogance and impunity.

Only within the last 5 years, so many newspapers have been closed down, a number of journalists and critics have been jailed and many faced treason and terrorism charges for telling the inconvenient truth that tyranny must come to an end. The Voice of America (VOA), as an independent broadcaster, has also been a target of the tyrannical regime that jams VOA and other broadcasts to Ethiopia using Chinese technology.

Meles Zenawi’s VOA blacklist provides fresh evidence that clearly shows the intolerance, ignorance and arrogance of the dictator and his cronies who are determined to silence every little voice of dissent. Article 29 (2) of the Ethiopian constitution declares: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression without any interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any media of his choice.” But in practice, freedom of expression has been criminalized and outspoken critics are being hunted down and forced into exile by the regime.
The following is only a partial list of critics and dissidents whose views are labeled “hostile” and “unacceptable”. Meles wants VOA to ban his critics from appearing on its programs. It is an open secret that anyone who expresses views contrary to those of dictator Meles Zenawi and his cronies is considered to be an enemy of the state. It should noted that the majority of people targeted by the Meles regime in the last 20 years are outspoken critics, commentators, political leaders, human rights activists and journalists.

The names below only those mentioned in a 42-page document submitted by the Meles regime to VOA and Board of Broadcasting Governors (BBG) officials as “evidence” to support its complaints against VOA Amharic service.

•Dr. Getachew Metaferia, Professor of Political Science at Maryland University
•Mr. Jawar Mohammed, Political commentator
•Mr. Abebe Hailu, Representative of the Ethiopian American Council
•Professor Beyene Petros, Member of Medrek’s leadership
•Mr. Hamdi Ali Regae, Commentator
•Professor Paolos Milkeas, Professor of Middle Eastern and African Politics, Concordia University Canada
•Mr. Ali Abdo, Eritrean Minister of Information
•Dr. Beyana Soba, OLF spokesperson
•Mr. Eskinder Nega, Journalist and publisher, who has been banned from practicing journalism
•Colonel Tsegeye Yimer, Former army and police trainer
•Lieutenant Ayalsew Dessie, exiled former army officer
•Dr. Negasso Gidada, former president and interim leader of Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ)
•Dr. Hailu Araya, Spokesperson of UDJ
•Dr. Kassa Ayalew, Representative of March for Freedom
•Dr. Ahmed Mowen, Professor at Howard University, Washington DC
•Mr. Neamin Zeleke, Political activist
•Professor Getachew Haile, Coordinator of Hidafe Kitet
•Mr. Seye Abraha, UDJ Party
•Mr. Thilo Hoppe, Member of German Parliament (Bundestag)
•Mr. Bekele Gerba, Vice Chair, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM)
•Dr. Merera Gudina, Member of Medrek’s leadership
•Dr. Berhanu Nega, Chair of Ginbot 7
•Mr. Girma Moges, Political commentator
•Mr. Aklilu Tadesse, exiled journalist
•Mr. Alebachew Desalegn, London-based activist
•Ms. Asayesh Tamiru, Member of Human Rights Committee in Germany
•Mr. Tamagn Beyene, activist and artiste
•Mr. Dawit Kebede, Managing editor of Awaramba Times
•Isaias Mekuria, journalist
•Dr. Getachew Begashaw, Professor of Economics at Harper College, USA
•Mr. Solomon Gebreselassie, Water development engineer in Los Angeles, California
Addis Voice is making efforts to secure other documents that contain Meles Zenawi’s litany of complaints and grievances against VOA broadcasters and anyone who expresses critical views.

Download document of Meles Zenawi’s VOA blacklist

  1. Birtu/can
    | #1

    I used to scratch my head whenever Meles pulls a rabbit out of his hat repeatedly until Rupert Murdoch’s scandal hit the air waves. Rupert Murdoch bribed British police officers to do his dirty work. Could Meles be doing a “ruert Murdoch” in the mix of Ethiopia politics? Well, here is my opinion. The directive to support Meles blindly in any issue, most recently censoring VOA comes straight from the higher ups of Obama administration. The root of this misguided directive is found in heart of Addis at the American embassy. Believe you me, someone has to investigate the financial portfolio of these so-called diplomats( past and present) since Meles set foot in menelik palace. As the saying goes” there is something fishy in the state of Denmark”. I suspect blood money is reaching these foreigners through various schemes such as lobbying, investments,male and female companions, off-shore bank accounts…etc. to shape the opinion/policy of higher ups into favoring Melese’s brutal regime at any cost. VOA is the latest victim of Melese’s buying power. Meles has mastered the art of manipulating stupid ferenji’s and seems to be at the top of his game right now. Somebody better stop him before his hocus pocus makes the whole country disappear from the face of earth.

    P.S I think it is time to compile names of Woyane dogs running around in the diaspora.

  2. MELAKU
    | #2

    Birtu I fount out reading your comment is more interesting than the story. Great comment.

  3. Mekuria
    | #3

    If the VOA (Horn of Africa) endorses this request, then it has become useless for the people of the region. Surprisingly, the list of the blacklisted individuals include all prominent leaders from Ethiopia-based “legal” opposition groups. If all these people are banned from the VOA, do we listen to the VOA to hear the TPLF/EPRDF propagandists say?

    Shame on VOA to reach this low.

  4. Money talks!
    | #4

    It is not a secret that professional thieves like woyanes bribe, threaten and kill others in order to continue their looting without being detected. The Meles regime is doing their best to keep their criminal activities hidden by every means of necessary. What else Meles and his gangs can become multimillionaires? The TPLF professional robbers have been working so hard for the last 20 plus years to make themselves rotten rich and careless the rest of Ethiopians live or die.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    @Mekuria and others, where did you get the so called blacklist? I don’t see it anywhere. What I see is the name of individuals used for citation purpose and the document is all about the excerpt from programs broadcasted by VOA. So do you mean that the government should have provided its complaints without mentioning any name? Folks get out of this fantasy!

  6. The Eritrean one!
    | #6

    At the end of the day we all know why the little midget and his boss Bereket Simon get all kind of favortism from the so called American officials: 1- any foreing agent is welcome in Ethiopia and do as he/she pleases- mainly molesting beautiful Ethiopian girls and later showing their acts to their fellow citizens abroad via internet or other cell phones, 2- Ethiopian children are the hottest commodities in the adaption market and how many gay couples have we witnessed an infant baby as young as 10 months being snatched from his/her god given mother and handed to many strangers; only weyanes and the so called adapters know the cash exchanges that takes place, 3- As Ethiopians continue to attract foreing donors in the name of hunger how much money is raised and given to weyanes and out of all of the raised dollars in the name of hungry Ethiopians how much of it is being used by weyanes to buy weapons, bribery/lobbyist, and gifts, 4- both weyane and shaebia came out of the jungle but weyanes became the darling of America while shaebia continues to be threatened? What weyanes do to earn the American trust or is it a temporary honeymoon? There are so many questioned that needs to be addressed as to why America continues to pumper the midget man and his boss Bereket Simon. I hope in a few weeks the midget man and his boss Bereket Simon will have diapers by America since they continue to baby sitting them while the whole region of the horn of Africa is under tormoil due to America’s informants in the horn of Africa continues to lie for a hand out from America.

  7. Daba Ejeta
    | #7

    The VOA is the arm of the US foreign policy and can not be considered as a totally free medium. It has to serve US interests and there are limits within which it operates. The present US foreign policy towards Africa rbased on stability and advances cooperation with and support to rulers like the fascist and racist Meles Zenawi. The US will not allow for any broadcasts of news and programs deemed as destabilizing regimes defined as allies and friends. The debacle in the Amharic service of the VOA should be seen in the light of US interests and foreign policy objectives.

  8. Mekuria
    | #8

    Anon #5,

    The central issue is not even about the list of blacklisted individuals but the very intentions of the draconian regime and its leaders interventions on the free media, including its recent act on the VOA. Thus, the cream of your message makes sense if and only if we believe that the TPLF/EPRDF regime has good intentions about freedom of expression (free media). But facts abound that Meles, Bereket and their regime have proven to be the worst enemy of free media dozens of times during the last 20 years. The regime’s theme of influencing the VOA is no different-has no positive intention but to stretch its repression.

    Of course, if you’re among the regime’s mouthpiece or if you’re one of those who wage war on free media in Ethiopia, the intentions of the regime have “positive” implications-dogs bark for those who feed them. For the rest of us, everything the regime does in relation to the free media and freedom of expression, including the VOA, has unequivocally proven to be negative. And the direction is getting worse than better.

    Shame on the VOA for kowtowing to the draconian regime-even for entering to some kind of negotiations on what VOA should report or not report.

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