Home | News    Friday 30 July 2010

Ethiopia: First Satellite independent TV jammed

July 29, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) –The First independent Ethiopian satellite service (ESAT) said its transmissions in Ethiopia are intercepted for the third time since last May when the service was launched for the first time.

The Amsterdam-based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) in a press release published on its website, on 26 July has held the Ethiopian government responsible for the interception.

“For the past 24 hours, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) broadcasts and transmissions in Ethiopia, the Middle East and Europe have been disrupted for the third time since it began service in May 2010.”

ESAT said it has gathered evidences that show that the Ethiopian Government being illegally engaged with certain parties in the satellite business attempted to isolate and disrupt ESAT signals.

"Our evidence on the source of the illegal signal interference points exclusively in the direction of the Ethiopian Government. Beginning on July 20, the satellite system carrying ESAT signals was bombarded by intense and sustained radio frequency interference disrupting a whole set of services provided by various public and private entities.’’

Along with ESAT, the satellite service of state-controlled Ethiopian Television was also knocked of the air. It said.

“When ESAT resumed its services after it was disrupted the second time, a request was made to the satellite provided to place ESAT on the same frequency [sic] as Ethiopian Television Service. This would ensure that any interference in ESAT signals would also affect Ethiopian Television transmissions. The Ethiopian Government by attempting to knock out ESAT ended up knocking itself off the air.’’

A number of Press freedom advocacy groups have criticized Ethiopia of trying to limit media coverage in contrary to the nation’s constitutional commitment to censorship and freedom of expression.

ESAT in cooperation with other impacted parties shall seek appropriate legal remedies to stop the Ethiopian Government from engaging in patently illegal interference in satellite communications.

The independent service said they would seek all legal and technological methods to overcome any interference directed at ESAT programming by the Ethiopian Government.

Ethiopia has jammed a number of foreign based net work broad casters including The U.S. government funded Voice of America broadcasts in Amharic (VOA), accusing them of engaging in destabilizing propaganda.

Ahead of the country’s May elections Ethiopia jammed VOA which led to wide condemnation from American officials and international press watchdogs.

Attempts by Sudan tribune for comments from government bodies on ESAT claims didn’t work at this point.

(ST)