Home | News    Monday 18 June 2012

Ethiopia bans Skype, other VoIP services

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June 17, 2012 (PARIS) – Ethiopia has banned Skype and other use of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services that offer audio and video related communications.

The new law was passed late last month and breaking the law is punishable by 15 years in prison.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the Horn of Africa country endorsed the law national security reasons.

Internet-based phone calls have been a popular means of communication for government opponents and their supporters abroad. Addis Ababa’s actions are interpreted to be a attempt to cut off these lines of communication with Ethiopians abroad, from which the opposition secure most of their funding.

However, it is also believed that the new law is intended to protect the state’s monopoly over telephone communications.

People in Ethiopia prefer to use internet based phone calls than telephone calls because they are far cheaper.

The law is also said to allow the Ministry of Communications and Information to ban the import of communications equipment.

Reporters Without Borders criticised Ethiopia’s crackdown on Internet users and accused the East African country of trying to "attack every means of information exchange."

Ambroise Pierre from the Reporters Without Borders Africa service told the BBC: "There’s already a very strict control over written press, and last year several journalists were arrested, and now the government is tackling communications over the Internet”.

Local journalists have accused the Ethiopian government of trying to take control of Internet-based telecom services by intensifying a crack down on Internet cafés during the past few weeks.

Last week, Reporters Without Borders accused Ethiopia of further intensifying press and internet censorship by what the group alleged was using a sophisticated technology, the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) - an advanced network filtering used to selective blocking websites.

It also accused the country’s state owned printing presses of trying to impose political censorship on media content prior to publication.

A number of international press freedom groups have accused Ethiopia of press censorship and endangering safety of journalists using controversial laws.

According to CPJ research, Ethiopia drove more journalists into exile than any other country, over the past decade. The country is also Africa’s foremost jailer of journalists after neighbouring Eritrea.

(ST)

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  • 18 June 2012 09:01, by Chamwaranywaa

    This is too bad. I don’t understand how Ethiopia reached to such a decision.

    repondre message

  • 18 June 2012 09:48, by seyoum777

    The Ethiopian government has undeniably good track record in bringing about economic success in Ethiopia. However, the die hard opposition groups have miserably failed to see this achievement and they are bent on tarnishing all the good works of the government. They have hijacked the so called Free Press and use the internet to mislead the public. No wonder the government imposes restrictions.

    repondre message

    • 22 June 2012 17:03, by Wolleyewu

      We Ethiopians are always sick and tired of hearing blatant lies of Tigraians which attempted to polish the current illegitmate,minority and aparthide rule in Ethi for being developmental. In the country where there is persistent famine/pov how come a human being with sound mental claims for double digit growth while the reality is negetive track record. shame on you. Down with Zenawi western slavl

      repondre message

  • 19 June 2012 03:40, by Thyinka

    Taking advantage of advances in communication technology can be part of economic development as the cost of communication is reduced. This decision by Ethiopian gov’t is a typical third world country dictatorship rearing it ugly head. With such decisions, development will not come easily to African countries.

    repondre message

  • 30 January 2013 15:36, by maropl

    there is persistent famine/pov how come a human being with sound mental claims for katalog stron double digit growth while the reality is negetive track record. shame on you. Down with Zenawi western slavl

    repondre message

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