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WikiLeaks: Ethiopian intelligence chief calls VOA Amharic ‘biased’, but praises DW -
WikiLeaks: Ethiopian intelligence chief calls VOA Amharic ‘biased’, but praises DW
December 14th, 2010 - 9:54 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
The US Ambassador to Ethiopia held a rare meeting in June 2009 with the head of the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and main hardliner within the powerful executive committee of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party, Getachew Assefa. The Ambassador and the NISS chief discussed a wide range of regional and bilateral issues.
Mr Getachew complained that VOA Amharic reporting was biased and not even handed. He did note that VOA English was fine. He said the VOA Amharic service does not interview Ethiopian officials who can refute “false assertions” espoused in the VOA interviews. Mr Getachew praised Germany’s Deutsche Welle for its balanced and yet hard hitting reporting.
Mr Getachew underscored that if the Government of Ethiopia is doing something wrong or does not have the support of the people, news services have an obligation to highlight such problems. Mr Getachew said VOA, however, seeks to report only what is anti-government or lends support for the opposition. Mr Getachew concluded that the US Government, because the VOA Amharic service is an official arm of the Government, lacks neutrality in its support for the opposition and this undercuts relations between the two countries. The Ambassador replied that VOA is a very independent media and the US Government does not have oversight and control over the content of the reporting.