Cyber Ethiopia

Ethiopia most restrictive Sub Saharan Country, Freedom House reports


In a Global assessment of Internet and Digital Media, Freedom House finds that, when it comes to Internet freedom, Ethiopia is the most repressive among the Sub-Saharan countries it examined.

Over the past years, the global number of censored websites has increased, while internet users in various countries have been arrested, tortured and killed over the information they posted online. Iran, Cuba and China remain among the most restrictive countries in the World and Ethiopia tops the list of most restrictive nations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In September 2012, Ethiopia’s government passed the Telecom Fraud Offences law, which is supposed to combat cybercrime but also includes provisions that toughen the ban of VoIP, requiring users to register all ICT equipment including smartphones.

Manyazewal Eshetu, a 21 year old university student was also arrested and charged with criminal defamation for posting a comment on Facebook criticizing the ‘rampant corruption’ in a local university. He still remains in prison and has not been persecuted.

The well known dissident Eskender Nega was found guilty under the anti-terrorism law and sentenced to 18 years of prison for his alleged links to a  ’terrorist group’ after he posted online articles that criticized the government’s use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to silence political dissent.

Freedom House’s country report on Ethiopia also recalls that Ethio Telecom had deployed deep packet inspection to enable more sophisticated selective internet filtering of internet traffic.

The most recent ONI tests in September 2012 found that filtering by Ethio Telecom primarily on ”independent online news media, political blogs and Ethiopian human rights groups’ websites. Of the 1,375 unique websites tested, 73 were blocked including online portals such as Cyber Ethiopia“, the report states on page 278.


Indeed, since May 2006, has been blocked in Ethiopia along with many other popular Ethiopian web sites with an apparent objective to prevent the dissemination of information that is critical of the regime in Ethiopia.

Read more in the Global assessment of Internet and Digital Media

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Posted by on Oct 3 2013. Filed under News, Views and Opinions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Warka ዋርካ
the Pioneering Ethiopian Discussion
Forum in Amharic

The then-TPLF-dominated regime in Ethiopia was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to actively engage in political censorship of the Internet .

Since May 2006, the 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.

On 22nd June 2018, the new Prime Minister Dr Abye Ahmed's government reported that it had unblocked 264 websites including after 12 years of blockage as attested by the OONI’s thorough verifications of our website’s unblocking .

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