The most significant human rights problems included restrictions on freedom of expression and association through politically motivated trials and convictions of opposition political figures, activists, journalists, and bloggers, as well as increased restrictions on print media. In July security forces used force against and arrested Muslims who protested against alleged government interference in religious affairs. The government continued restrictions on civil society and nongovernmental organization (NGO) activities imposed by the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO).
The government restricted access to the Internet and blocked several Web sites, including blogs, opposition Web sites, and Web sites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF. The government also temporarily blocked news sites such as the Washington Post, the Economist, and Al Jazeera, and temporarily blocked links to foreign government reporting on human rights conditions in the country. Several news blogs and Web sites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Addis Neger, Nazret, Ethiopian Review, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, Tensae Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Media Forum. A foreign government news Web site was only available periodically, although users could generally access it via proxy sites. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers that let users circumvent government screening of Internet browsing and email. According to the government, 4 percent of individuals subscribed to Internet access.
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