በቀላሉ የመሥሪያ ማገናኛዎች

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The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors has condemned Ethiopia's charges against five VOA journalists who have worked for the agency's Horn of Africa service.

The board said Wednesday the charges are "a blatant attempt to criminalize freedom of the press" and urged Ethiopian officials to drop them without delay.

It said the Ethiopian people deserve "unfettered access to accurate, balanced and comprehensive information," and noted VOA has provided them with that service for the past quarter-century -- and will continue to do so.

The five Ethiopian-born VOA journalists are among 129 people who face charges in Ethiopia stemming from deadly opposition-led riots last year. The VOA broadcasters are all U.S. citizens who work in Washington and have been charged in absentia.

In an appearance on VOA's Straight Talk Africa program, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer made the following comments about jailed Ethiopian opposition leaders: "We think that it's important for Prime Minister Meles (Zenawi) to release many of the people who are in jail, certainly to bring their trials to a very speedy conclusion, give them, as you say, due process of the law, give them an opportunity to have a case in jail. And for those who, ah, so there isn't a substantial case to be made, allow them to leave, ah, so certainly we've been putting pressure, our chargé there, Vicki Huddleston, has been in constant dialogue with Prime Minister Meles and members of the opposition ... Members of our embassy have had the opportunity to meet with the families of those who are detained as well. So yes, indeed we are putting pressure and we think it's important for the prime minister to allow, to release those who are detained."

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