We have seen reports of the various protests being held in Ethiopia against the government which led to several reports on social media about the interruption of Internet access to citizens and later on a state of emergency being issued.
Well…one of the things that have been banned in the state of emergency that was issued last week include the use of social media. Apparently according to a statement from the government over the weekend, posting updates of the status of the country is a crime.
“The military command will take action on those watching and posting on these social media outlets,” Ethiopia’s minister of defence, Siraj Fegessa, was quoted as saying. It doesn’t end there. Apparently those people who break the terms of the emergency (which includes posting social media risk a jail term of three to five years.
It is not the first time we are hearing of the Ethiopian government shutting down access to social media access to its citizens. In a previous incident just 3 months ago, Ethiopia temporarily disrupted access to social media due to university exams so as to prevent leakage and make sure that the students are not distracted.
We are living in an interesting time when social media usage is part of our lives and disrupting our connection to them can be quite frustrating. This new age has even prompted the UN to pass a resolution back in July where they termed the disruption of internet access as a violation of human rights.