By ESAT News,
The management of the Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT) announced that it would soon stop transmitting its news and programming via the Russian AM44 satellite, one of its two satellites, due to pressure from the Russian government. The management said, however, that ESAT will continue its transmission to Ethiopia via its second satellite, Arab Sat.
The management also assured its audiences in Ethiopia and worldwide that it has signed an agreement with another satellite company and its transmission of alternative news and programming would continue unabated.
There has been mounting diplomatic pressure by the Ethiopian government on Russia for allowing ESAT use of one of its satellites. Last month the Ethiopian government sent a high level delegation to Russia. It was found that the primary mission of the delegation was to demand the Russian government to drop from its satellite the broadcasting of news and programming by ESAT.
It is to be recalled that the Russian satellite company had rejected the demand by the Ethiopian government. The management said it believed the recent reversal of decision by Russia came following a trade and investment agreement signed between the two countries, which the Ethiopian government used as leverage.
The Ethiopian government alleges that broadcasting of news and programming from ESAT were a threat to the peace and security of Ethiopia. The management of ESAT and its journalists as well as Ethiopians at large, however, strongly disagree saying ESAT is the only independent news outlet for Ethiopians, who would otherwise be under an information blackout. ESAT, which has millions of loyal viewers and listeners in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora, is funded by individual monthly contributions and fundraising events by Ethiopian communities worldwide. But the ethnocentric regime and its cronies falsely allege that ESAT is funded by a political organization bent on destabilizing the country.
The Ethiopian government, using Chinese technology, had jammed the transmission of ESAT for over twenty times in the last five years. The government, one of the top jailers of journalists, also uses diplomatic pressure as well as offering huge payments to satellite companies to thwart the broadcasting of alternative news from ESAT.
The regime in Ethiopia has also used cyber attack and espionage against ESAT management and journalists to obstruct ESAT’s broadcasting. Ethiopians are fuming over the fact that the despotic regime in Addis Ababa is using its meager resources and is spending millions of dollars on jamming of satellite broadcasting and cyber espionage to muzzle a news media while millions of Ethiopians are in need of food aid after crops wither again this year.
The first independent satellite television for Ethiopians, ESAT, had been forced to change its satellite providers over twenty times now.