By Dawit Ashenafi
(Addis Voice) The Voice of America says it has begun a thorough investigation into allegations of deliberate distortions at VOA Amharic Service. Kevin Lynch, acting director of public relations at VOA, confirmed that the allegations are being probed in earnest.
The director of VOA, David Esor,also noted in a statement he gave to VOA Horn of Africa that he would do everything in his power to address the complaints.
The director was quoted by VOA Tigrigna as saying: “When complaints are made that VOA has made errors, we investigate the report, and if an error has been made, we correct the error, and apologize for it.”
Scores of Ethiopian-Americans staged a protest rally on Monday in Washington D.C. at the State Department. The protesters demanded, among other things, that VOA should stop the deliberate distortions at VOA by the sympathizers of the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia. The protest followed a recent VOA Amharic report by Henok Semaegzer Fente that allegedly misrepresented and deliberately distorted facts related to the revocation of an honor bestowed on Hailemariam Desalegn by Azusa Pacific University.
David Ensor, who worked for NPR, ABC News and CNN in his long spanning journalism career, sworn in as the 28th Director of the Voice of America on June 16, 2011, it was learned.
The following was originally reported by VOA Tigrigna on August 25th, as summarized and translated by Ethiomedia.
VOA Director David Ensor has responded to the protest held at the State Department. He said there were resentments being heard from every direction, and he would work to his full capacity to address the issues.
The director said VOA should feel whether it is content with the coverage of the Ethiopian Diaspora protest rally in front of the State Department.
We respect the complaints one of which is how VOA Horn of Africa section covers events with fairness. All VOA Language Services work hard to make their reports as fair as possible. VOA occasionally sees the fairness of its reports and services vis-a-vis its reputation.
On some occasions, VOA has drawn critical complaints from several sources who complain that the VOA reporting lacks honesty and balance.
While the [Ethiopian] government accuses us of “broadcasting extremely harsh news reports,” the Ethiopian Diaspora on their part accuse us of broadcasting reports not critical enough on the government [in Ethiopia].
No matter from where the complaint comes, the director said, VOA should work diligently and attentively. When complaints are made that we have made errors, we investigate the report, and if an error has been made, we correct the error, and apologize for it.
We thank all those who stand by our side during our broadcasting services of news and information, David Ensor said.
The protesting members of the Diaspora at State Department complained VOA, instead of serving the people, broadcasts reports that kill the hopes of the people, and this has been felt since some individuals joined VOA.