Cyber Ethiopia

Ethiopia blocks Facebook and other social media for exams

Facebook Blocked in Ethiopia

Facebook Blocked in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has blocked social media sites across the country after university entrance exams were posted online.

The government said the ban was to prevent students being distracted from studying during the exam period and to prevent the spread of false rumours.

The blocked sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber.

They will be unavailable for several days while university entrance exams are taken, a government spokesman said.

“It’s a temporary measure until Wednesday. Social media have proven to be a distraction for students,” said spokesman Getachew Reda.

Ethiopia was among the first African countries to censor the internet and opposition blogs and human rights websites are frequently blocked.

Social media sites have gone down in Ethiopia before but only for a matter of hours, with the government previously denying any involvement. This is the first time social media sites have been publicly blocked nationwide.

An Ethiopian journalist who has covered the story, who did not want to be named for safety reasons, told the BBC that the clampdown “was just the beginning”.

“The government here is very keen to control social media,” he said. “They will learn from this, next time there is a protest they will use the experience to do another nationwide clampdown.”

Daniel Berhane, the editor of Horn Affairs magazine, said on Twitter: “This is a dangerous precedent. There is no transparency about who took the decision and for how long.”

In May, university entrance exams were cancelled after pictures of the test circulated on social media. A group supporting protests for greater rights for Ethiopia’s Oromo people claimed responsibility for the leak.

Traditional media in Ethiopia are tightly controlled by the government, leaving many reliant on social media to access and pass on information critical of the authorities.

In 2012, Skype was taken down in Ethiopia amid a clampdown on VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls. The government claimed that the service was being used for fraudulent purposes.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution classifying the censorship of the internet as a human rights violation.

Source: BBC

Short URL: http://cyberethiopia.com/2013/?p=1378

Posted by on Jul 11 2016. Filed under News, Views and Opinions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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Warka
Warka ዋርካ
the Pioneering Ethiopian Discussion
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Ethiopia is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to actively engage in political censorship of the Internet .

Since May 2006, the then top five most popular Ethiopian web sites (including CyberEthiopia) and several blogs have been blocked across the nation. The apparent objective was to prevent the dissemination of information that is critical of the regime.

Following the political protests which have swept the nation since November 2015, the regime has routinely shutdown the Internet and restricted access to Social Media (including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber) and indicated its keenness to control Social Media.




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