For VOA Amharic, credibility should be a big concern

The alleged Ethiopian government affair with VOA’s Amharic department has been everywhere recently, dashed across the major Ethiopian blogs for the past two weeks while the “Phone Hacking” scandal at News of the World swallowing up Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. Therefore, I can say that Ethiopians have their own big media scandal because it is claimed that Ethiopian government submitted a very bulky document with very long list of major Ethiopian political commentators, politicians and big personalities. In the alleged document the Ethiopian government asked VOA not to interview or to represent the voices of any of the personalities registered in the document. Some members of the Ethiopian online media community even went on to claim that VOA suppressed voiceless Ethiopians and demonstrated in Washington concerning problems at the VOA Amharic , it is worth reflecting on the wider significance of the saga.
As I am getting a clearer picture of the alleged case of muffling critical voices, I am becoming well aware of some real and possibly common problems in this emblematic US government media journalism style.
The file at stake was released in mid July 2011 by a website called Addis Voice with many commentators calling for hands off censorship and open discussion regarding the relationship of VOA and the Ethiopian government. Many of the critical pundits also urged VOA to release this file to the public in full as quickly as possible as the website released partial list of people Ethiopian government wish to be banned from being interviewed on VOA.
With this solitary case alone it is difficult to not state VOA as an outright censorship media organization as its Ethiopian government media counterparts. Nor would I likely to be sympathetic for what VOA has allegedly done. But considering the extent of inconsistencies that a VOA official such as Acting Director, Steve Redisch has shown in handling the matter, it poses serious question of credibility for VOA in the future. Bearing in mind the acute shortage of independent media in Ethiopia I cannot deny the rich but self-righteous history of VOA that can be considered as a very good contribution to Ethiopia’s media and public life.
However, VOA has miserably taken dawn some of the programs from VOA Amharic Service website which was broadcasted on June 23, 2011.This particular incident by its own simply strengthen the perception that VOA had something to conceal but unavoidably the big scandalous prohibitive document was leaked by the Addis Voice. But VOA Amahiric remains silent about many of the allegations made mainly by the Ethiopian diaspora, and for me I found it hard to know what VOA Amharic thought of its critiques. One suggestion visibly made by many of its critiques is to put the alleged document into the public domain and to reveal everything for the public to be as transparent as possible. As media scholars nowadays start to consider transparency as one aspect of objectivity. So I need VOA to carry out transparency keep its credibility for high-quality journalism. I rest my point!

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