Stop shutting down the internet, Ethiopia told

Stop shutting down the internet, Ethiopia told
FILE - A taxi driver checks his smartphone as he waits for his customers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nov. 12, 2019. VOA

Ethiopian State officials have been urged to stop shutting down the internet.

David Kaye, a UN expert, said he is concerned with the frequent internet shutdowns by the government.

“Internet shutdowns are almost always in violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. I want to strongly urge the government to not use internet shutdown as a tool. I’ve asked several times. ‘Where do you have the authority in law to shut down the internet?’ Nobody could give me an answer,” Kaye told VOA.

Ethiopia has shut down the internet nine times this year, mostly during national exams and public protests.

The government also blocked the internet or specific social media sites during elections and other periods deemed to be a crisis.

Kaye noted that social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube have a relatively small presence in Ethiopia but they have an “extraordinary responsibility” to moderate content and ensure posts are accurate.

He praised the reforms implemented by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for achieving peace with neighboring Eritrea.

He however said more reforms are needed.


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