Ethiopia Blocks Social Media for Exams Period
Ethiopia has blocked access to Facebook and other popular social networks during the university entrance exam period.
The African nation, which is known for its strict censorship policies, says the blackout is to prevent another exam leak. The government also insists full access will return by Wednesday.
Longest social media blackout
Social media blackouts are nothing new in Ethiopia. However, they normally last a few hours and the government tends to deny any involvement. This will be Ethiopia’s longest social clampdown and the first time its government publicly announced the blackout.
The move comes after Ethiopia cancelled entrance exams in May. An activist group posted images of the exam to protest the treatment of Oromo people. However, some Ethiopians insist this won’t be an isolated incident. They claim the government is using this as an exercise to stage greater censorship over social media in the country.
Social media control
An Ethiopian journalist who requested not to be named told the BBC this 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.”
This journalist isn’t alone either. One blogger warns he may take legal action against the government over the blackout.
“I am considering a legal action about the facebook blackout. — traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” said Daniel Berhane, creator of “Horn Affairs”.
“This is a dangerous precedent,” he earlier told AFP. “There is no transparency about who took the decision and for how long. This time it is for a few days, but next time it might be for a month.”
Featured image: Public domain