Broadcasting to the Horn of Africa is not for the squeamish (updated).

Posted: 20 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"Ever since its re-instatement in 2007, the Voice of America’s Somali section has been viewed as the beckon of hope for impartial and just news service that will humble serve the people of Horn of Africa. But the future of the VOA Somali section, under the leadership of Abdirahman Yabarow, a former BBC staff seems to gradually disappearing under the dark clouds of deadly clanism. In an interview with Radio Rajodoon, Farhiya Absiye, now a former VOA reporter, revealed the inside story of the station and how clan plays the biggest role." Garowe Online, 14 February 2010.
     Update: "A former Voice of America contractor has made a number of allegations on several Somali Websites about the VOA Somali Service and its Chief, Abdirahman Yabarow. Those allegations are baseless. In a continuing effort to produce valuable, high quality broadcasts, Voice of America will occasionally make changes to achieve its goals and maintain its standards. All decisions are made to preserve the integrity of our programming, while respecting and honoring our contractual agreements. VOA does not comment on details about internal matters involving individual employees or contractors. Decisions for VOA's Somali Service are made to achieve the goal of broadcasting excellence. The VOA Somali service has a large listening audience in Somalia as a result of its reputation as a source for accurate, objective and comprehensive news and broadcast opportunity for the Somali people to express their many points of view. VOA takes pride in the service and the leadership of the service." VOA Public Affairs, direct. The VOA Somali contract employee's lengthy resignation letter and list of grievances was published in Somaliland Press, 31 January 2010.
     "On Wednesday (02/17/10), the veteran news organization, Voice of America, behaved like a propaganda mouthpiece for Ali Abdu, the Eritrean Information Minister. Its news story was entitled: 'Eritrea Official Denies Asmara´s Involvement in Organizing Protest against UN- Sanctions'. In it, Ali Abdu is telling VOA reporter Peter Clottey that the planned pro-government protest marches near the White House are a result of an 'absolutely popular appraisal against the unjust [UN sanctions]..…This resolution is not only targeting Eritreans, it´s targeting the Horn of Africa entirely.' ... The Eritrean Minister is doing his job really well, but Peter Clott[e]y is not as he ought to in the interest of fair and responsible journalism. ... VOA could have made the story fairer and more balanced by quickly obtaining the reactions of anyone of the leaders of influential Eritrean civic organizations like the US based Global Eritrean Solidarity or the UK based Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea." Michael Abraha, American Chronicle, 18 February 2010. See also VOA News, 17 February 2010.
     "The Horn of Africa region is among the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist, according to a global watchdog group. The Committee to Protect Journalists says numerous journalists in the region have been forced to flee home under threat of death or imprisonment. The New York-based group warns that the quality of reporting has suffered significantly due to the high number of local journalists from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea who have been imprisoned, attacked, forced to flee, or censured." Alan Boswell, VOA News, 16 February 2010.