, ADDIS ABABA, Mar 19 – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he was prepared to order the censorship of Voice of America broadcasts because of its "destabilising propaganda."
The VOA earlier this month said its daily transmissions in Amharic, Ethiopia\’s main language, were being systematically jammed, while broadcasts in other languages remained intact.
Meles told reporters late Thursday that Ethiopian authorities "may have been testing their capacity (to censor) in recent days, but that wasn\’t the formal decision of jamming."
"I can assure you that at some future date that if they have that capacity then I will give them the clear guideline to jam it," he added.
Addis Ababa often accuses VOA of bias towards the opposition and of attempting to foment chaos in the country.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned Ethiopia for "maintaining hostilities".
But Meles said: "We\’ve been convinced for many years now that … VOA Amharic service has copied the worst stations such as Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda in its wanton disregard for minimum ethics … and engaging in destabilising propaganda."
Radio Mille Collines was a broadcaster which incited the population to exterminate minority Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide.
The Horn of Africa nation holds elections on May 23, but human rights groups have accused Meles\’ regime of instilling a climate of fear ahead of the polls.