Ethiopia Blocks Social Media for Exams Period

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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

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.