ESAT services disrupted, board says working to resolve crisis
Ethiomedia | May 29, 2010

SEATTLE - Ethiopian Satellite Broadcasting Service (ESAT) programs have been disrupted since Thursday and the board said negotiations were underway to resolve the crisis.

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Neither ESAT's administrative nor technical problems are to blame for the service disruption, a statement released by the board said on Saturday.

Millions of Ethiopians welcomed the launch of the satellite television service as a political breakthrough that would end state-sponsored news and information blackout that has hit Ethiopia for several years.

Government policy doesn't allow Ethiopians to start their own TV and radio services, and many observers assert that it is a deliberate policy to keep the people uninformed and vulnerable to government misinformation and manipulation.

ESAT was born at a time when government repression became complete even the daily one-hour broadcasting services of the Voice of America (VOA) and Deutsche Welle (DW) are jammed to listeners in the country.

ESAT said the disruption sparked thousands of telephone calls and email inquiries, and stated:
The service interruption is caused neither by any action or omission of ESAT or any of its personnel. It also ruled out equipment failure or technical problems.

We are in communication with our service providers to find out exactly the cause of the interruption, and work cooperatively with them to resolve any issues or problems, if any.

The board said ESAT will continue to 'provide the services it has started,' and expressed gratitude to "our viewers and supporters for their moral, financial and material support. We ask our viewers and supporters to bear with us patiently as we resolve the current service interruption issue."

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