VOA Director David Jackson says charges of treason filed against five VOA journalists by the Ethiopian government are false.
In a statement issued Thursday, Mr. Jackson called the charges "an obvious attempt to intimidate our broadcasters." He said the Voice of America has a worldwide reputation for the quality and reliability of its journalists, and that VOA stands by its reporters.
The five journalists from VOA's Horn of Africa service in Washington have been charged with involvement in an alleged plot to overthrow the Ethiopian government. None of the five is in Ethiopian custody.
The journalists were charged in absentia in an Addis Ababa courtroom Wednesday. Journalist Negussie Mengesha, one of the staffers charged, said today that he and his Horn of Africa service colleagues totally reject the charges.
He added that the division's broadcasts to Ethiopia are objective and balanced.