Ethiopia has been a close ally of the United States in east Africa and even accepted urging by former President George Bush to invade Somalia in order to crush Muslim groups. For over half a century the US has broadcast in local Amharic languages in order to foster ideas of democracy and freedom of speech and press. However although the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was receptive to the idea of invading Somalia he certainly was not willing to risk his own political career on something termed, a free election. Many opposition candidates for the upcoming election are in jail or have been physically assaulted. The Voice of broadcast stories about these attacks on freedom of speech and the press. That is not exactly what the government expects from an “ally.”
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced that he was closing down the VOA because of its actions to create violence and terror in his nation. He made his disgust with “the objectivity of the servicer” and mad clear his government will be “working on blocking the service.” For some reason, the VOA did not get the message that in Ethiopia, a free election means the government is free to intimidate and kill the opposition without reprisal. How come that was not known at the VOA?