January 11, 2008

Ethiopia - Why Jamming?

‘Ethiopia adopts new tactic in radio jamming, Eritrean State Radio is now targeted;

‘Ethiopia: New tactic employed to jam foreign broadcasts; ‘Ethiopia is known to be blocking broadcasts from its neighbor Eritrea…’ are now commonly reported information about Ethiopia.

“Truth and smoke never miss an exit,” is a saying in the Eritrean society used to describe that one cannot squash a truth. Nowadays, although not a new phenomenon, we have been hearing that the Ethiopian Government is jamming different media outlets and especially that of Eritrea for fear that the Ethiopian people would understand the grave political mistakes the regime is committing against its people and neighboring societies.

“Ethiopia has adopted a new tactic in its jamming of foreign radio broadcasts. It is now deliberately transmitting programs from one of its own stations on the same frequencies as those used by Eritrean state radio…” is what Cumbre DX Central’s Hans Johnson recently reported.

It is not strange for Eritreans to hear the jamming information, not news for them of course, for they have experienced it for a long time. The Mengustu Regime used to jam the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front’s radio, Voice of the Masses, but failed to cover the truth. It is obvious that liars would try to hide the reality at least for a moment. The Ethiopian Government is now intensively engaged in jamming the truth from its people, but they do not realize that the world is on an era of information technology. And it is obvious that the people would question ‘why the government is trying to jam different media outlets unless it has fears of the truth.’

Jamming is a clear violation of basic human rights. It is a violation of the freedom of speech that we read on the Western books. However, the West provides its killing support for the Woyane regardless what devil acts the regime is committing.

Jamming would not be a solution, however. There is a growing opposition against the regime in Addis Ababa since it came to power in 1991. The opposition groups are now getting stronger and are forming a united front. There is hostility against the government from in and out side the country. The people have realized that the Meles regime hardly has a national mission or works for the national interest. So, if there is any solution that jamming could bring to Ethiopia is facilitating the regime’s end.

BBC Monitoring (BBCM) has been observing jamming of Eritrean broadcasts for several months. In November, shortwave transmissions to Ethiopia from the Voice of America (VOA) and Germany's Deutsche Welle (DW) also began to be targeted by deliberate and severe noise interference. Also being jammed are various private opposition radio broadcasts, which hire
airtime from commercial shortwave transmission facilities abroad to beam their programs into Ethiopia.

Similar jamming operations against both Eritrean radio and the VOA have been observed in past years. The current jamming, however, appears to be particularly intense and systematic.

On 18 and 19 December, BBCM heard Eritrean radio suffering severe interference from Voice of the Tigray Revolution.

“Well, the Ethiopians are still using noise jamming as well. I tuned in at 1600 today to 7560 where various programs (depending on the day of the week) are broadcast to Ethiopia. Following the pattern I have observed, the station is clear when it signs on but the jamming starts within a few minutes,” stated a reporter.

According to different reports, short wave radio monitors have confirmed that VOA broadcasts to Ethiopia in the Amharic and Afan Oromo languages have been jammed continuously. The jamming has been confirmed by some popular western media outlets.

A report once went like this, “BBC Monitoring (BBCM) can confirm that two major Western broadcasters are suffering consistent jamming of their transmissions to Ethiopia.” However, the government’s higher officials have blindly denied the truth.

"I do not think this one is true. Of course I have seen the media reporting saying that, but we do not need, the government does not need to waste its time on doing so," said the country’s Information Ministry Spokesman. "I myself have not come across audiences, who are saying so, but the relevant body may speak on the details, but I do not think this story is true,” he said.

Monitors also reported the jamming of VOA's Oromo Service, which broadcasts on the same frequencies of the Amharic. Oromo is the language spoken by Ethiopia's largest ethnic group.

Jamming is deliberate interference aimed at preventing the target broadcast from being heard. The standard technique is to transmit an irritating noise or continuous music on the same channel as the target. Then what the western allies of the regime who consider themselves advocators of freedom of speech would say about this?

Sources: Hans Johnson via Cumbre DX
Media Network
VOA News


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