VOA quietly reinstates Horn of Africa chief

By Abebe Gellaw / July 12, 2011
The Voice of America (VOA) has reversed its decision to suspend its Horn of Africa chief, David Arnold. After Addis Voice published a disturbing story on censorship and questionable actions taken against Mr. Arnold for comments he made recently in a June 23rd VOA report, VOA bosses held a series of crisis meetings and decided to reinstate him, sources disclosed.

Addis Voice briefly talked to Mr. Arnold who confirmed that he got his job back. But Mr. Arnold declined to make comments on the issue. He directed any inquiries on this matter to VOA’s public relations office to which we have posed a few more serious questions.

Meanwhile, VOA Acting Director and Executive Editor, Mr. Steve Redisch, has written to Addis Voice saying that the June 23rd VOA report on three Board of Broadcasting Governors visit to Ethiopia was “inaccurate”.

“There have been inaccurate reports about the tone and substance of an official meeting on June 22 between members of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors and Ethiopian Communication Affairs Minister Bereket Simon,” he said.

According to Mr. Redisch, the controversial report “aired June 23 on VOA Horn of Africa programs and appeared on its website inaccurately characterized the nature of Ethiopian government complaints about VOA’s programs.

“Contrary to the VOA report, at no time did Ethiopian government officials ask the Board members to prohibit any individuals from appearing on VOA programs. Consistent with VOA’s standards of accuracy and not for reasons of self-censorship, the report was taken off the website,” Redisch said in a brief statement he sent to Addis Voice. However, informed sources have contradicted Mr. Redisch’s statement.

“Bereket Simon has indeed made the outrageous demands. Sooner or later copies of the controversial document will be made public,” the source said.

Stay tuned for more details on VOA censorship saga.