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Ethiopia: Social Media Back After A 5 Month Shutdown

Post by : Hillary Musyoki

Social Media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are back online in Ethiopia after being blocked for five months, according to an internet advocacy organization and an AFP journalist.

A service operated by the Open Observatory Network Interference (OONI) , an association that tracks online censorship, revealed that access to social network in Ethiopia was freely available after been shut down in early February.

OONI and other internet censorship watchdogs reported a social media blackout in Ethiopia since February 9.

However, the government has not commented on the shutdown, and neither the government in Addis Ababa nor the state provider Ethio Telecom responded.

Amnesty International revealed that the blockage followed calls for street protest by leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church after a group of rebel archbishop created a dissident synod.

The planned demonstrations were eventually cancelled after a meeting of church leaders led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in mid February, however social media sites still remained offline.

Ethiopian authorities have blocked access to the internet and social media platforms many times in recent years.

Between 2015 and 2017, connectivity was interrupted on a number of occasions by the previous government as it faced the largest demonstration movement in 25 years.

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