As the people’s rage moves from Tunisia to Egypt and possibly to Yemen, the Eritrean regime is in a state of panic and is trying to engineer a total news blackout in Eritrea. The State media, which is the only legal medium of information dissemination in Eritrea, has maintained total silence on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and the uprisings in Sudan and Yemen. Until now, Eritreans could get the information from international radio broadcast and satellite TV. Now the Eritrean regime is attempting to control the latter.
According to our reporter, Eritrea’s national security office contacted the ministry of information demanding that they “plug off” the satellite television transmission, just like Egypt was able to “plug off” the Internet and mobile phone service. The ministry of information replied that there is “no switch” to block airwaves coming through space.
After mulling over the issue, the National Security Office sent out an order to every village, town and city administration demanding that cafes, restaurants and all public places which provide satellite-carried international news cease and desist immediately and that failure to comply immediately will result in loss of their license.
The business owners have protested that the major reason they have a clientele is because of the satellite dish, which carries news, sports and movies, and without that service, they will risk losing their business. The national security office stated that this was a matter of “national security” and they have to comply or lose their business license.
This leaves short wave radio as the only source of independent news for Eritreans. Our reporter commented, “I still have my radio, glad the regime does not have the ability to block radio waves!” The reporter also said that he is following all the news and he is up to date with the news.