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VOA Addresses Ethiopia on World Press Freedom Day

Open letter from VOA Director expresses opposition to all interference with 'free flow of news & information'

Washington, D.C., May 3, 2010 - The Voice of America (VOA) is expressing deep concern about the jamming of VOA broadcasts into Ethiopia and the blocking of VOA websites.

In an open letter to Ethiopian listeners issued on World Press Freedom Day, VOA Director Danforth Austin said, "we are opposed to all efforts to interfere with the free flow of news and information."

In addition to the jamming of shortwave broadcasts into Ethiopia, in recent weeks VOA websites have also been blocked.

Today's statement says VOA hopes to work with the Ethiopian Government to resolve the issues behind the jamming.

At the same time Austin says, "VOA has taken new steps to ensure the delivery of balanced and timely news reports to Ethiopia," including an electronic newsletter and "new and very clear" satellite audio transmissions at VOA 24 on Arabsat, and new shortwave frequencies.

"We are addressing our audience in new ways that did not exist when we began our shortwave radio broadcasts to Ethiopia 29 years ago," Austin said.

The full statement from the VOA Director is available on our website,, at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail