Home | News    Thursday 15 December 2016

Ethiopia’s move to block social media, news sites illegal: report

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia on October 2, 2016 (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri Photo)

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 14, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – A new report says Ethiopia’s move to block social media and news websites during months long deadly protests was illegal.

Research conducted by Amnesty International and the Open Observatory of Network Interference shows that between June and October this year during times of heightened tension and protests, access to WhatsApp and at least 16 news outlets was blocked, especially in the Oromia region.

“The internet blocking had no basis in law, and was another disproportionate and excessive response to the protests. This raises serious concerns that overly broad censorship will become institutionalized under the state of emergency.” Said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and Great Lakes.

“It’s clear that as far as the Ethiopian government is concerned, social media is a tool for extremists peddling bigotry and hate and therefore they are fully justified in blocking internet access. The reality, though, is very different. The widespread censorship has closed another space for Ethiopian’s to air the grievances that fueled the protests.”

The research also found "systematic interference" with access to political opposition sites and ones supporting freedom of expression and gay rights.

Since last year, the horn of African nation has faced an unprecedented wave of violent protests that claimed the lives of over 500 people.

But the country’s most recent protests were sparked after a religious festival in Oromia region turned into violet anti-government protests claiming lives of 55 in stampede.

In October, Addis Ababa has declared a six-month state of emergency giving the authorities the power to arrest anyone without court authorization and impose curfews.

The new report said the Ethiopian government is systematically and illegally blocking access to social media and news websites to deliberately crush dissent and prevent critical reporting.

Ethiopian authorities have admitted arresting over 11,000 people after the state emergency was imposed.

Protests among the Oromo, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group initially sparked over territorial rights but later turned into more political, wider freedoms and economic rights.

Protesters of Oromos and Amhara which is the country’s second largest ethnic group are discontented that the ruling coalition is dominated by the Tigray minority group and demand a more inclusive power sharing.

Opposition parties have failed to secure a single parliamentary seat during the past election.

A government official has dismissed the new report as “one-sided, not credible and baseless”

"There is no internet blackout in Ethiopia," government deputy spokesman Mohammed Seid told The Associated Press.

“What we have is a certain obstruction on mobile data services. It will be resolved very soon”

However previously a number of government officials have admitted access to internet and social medias were blocked in a bid to arrest the violence which was expanding to many parts of the country.

Access to internet services have been widely affected since early October in larger parts of the country including in the Capital, which a seat to the African Union (AU) and international organizations.

Last week the government has partially lifted ban on social media and mobile data.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 15 December 2016 05:55, by Maguto

    that is a government of dooms, how can the close all the media houses

    repondre message

  • 15 December 2016 07:17, by James

    Why is IGAD not responding to the crisis in Ethiopia? let it propose a two army like what it did to South Sudan.

    repondre message

    • 15 December 2016 10:59, by Dean Keak Tegn

      By what way and which army separation do you mean? Please make sure that, "Our diversity is also our unity"! Ethiopia is united and we only want to fix the wounds of protests of last summer not to tear down our country like you do in South Sudan.

      repondre message

  • 15 December 2016 10:55, by Dean Keak Tegn

    Our country is in a great turmoil in last summer, but there should be need for holding different oppositions with ruling party together in order for them to solve their differences, and farther negotiation on the table. Otherwise, no peace will stay longer in Ethiopia any way. And the solution is not to shut off the social media in the country, but to negotiate the differences, no other way around

    repondre message

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Response to Bona Malual statements on Abyei 2017-12-11 20:24:24 By Hon Arop Madut Arop As I was reading the last proof of my new book on the Ngok Dinka history, which is currently with the printers, somebody sent me a recorded voice message purportedly given (...)

Is Jieng Council of Elders responsible for South Sudan crisis? 2017-12-10 17:59:57 By Samuel Maker Amuor Silence means acceptance! It takes less than a minute for one to come across Jieng council of elders’ meddle on national affairs as they claim. Either through social media (...)

Judas Face of Europe: what can you do with thirty coins of silver? 2017-12-09 23:23:11 By Amgad Fareid Eltayeb According to the biblical narrative, thirty coins of silver was the price for which Judas betrayed Jesus and handed him over to the temple priests. According to the same (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


South Sudanese rights group call to release political detainees 2017-12-10 07:50:31 THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: 10 DECEMBER 2017: SSHURSA CALLS ON ALL TO ACTION FOR SOUTH SUDANESE The 10 December usually marks the international human rights day. SSHURSA notes with (...)

Reactions to government agencies’ conspiracy against Greater Bor community 2017-10-08 07:54:31 By Manyok Abraham Thuch & Kuch Kuol Deng A monkey business or a donkey business in the government of the republic of South Sudan against the citizens is unacceptable. Therefore, we as youth (...)

Amnesty calls to release Nubian activists detained over protest for cultural rights 2017-09-12 20:47:54 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE 12 September 2017 Egypt: Release 24 Nubian activists detained after protest calling for respect of their cultural rights Egyptian authorities should (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.