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Ethiopian blogger considers court suit over social media blackout

Ethiopian blogger considers court suit over social media blackout


A prominent Ethiopian blogger has said he was considering legal action relative to the decision by government to block some social media platforms to prevent leakage of examination questions.

‘‘I am considering a legal action about the facebook blackout. — traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,’‘ the creator of influential website, ‘‘Horn Affairs’‘ said in a tweet.

Daniel Berhane, had earlier described the decision to block facebook as ‘‘nothing but an unconstitutional State of Emergency’‘ charging further that the government had no legal basis or procedural defense to deny its citizens freedom of expression.

Earlier in an interview with the AFP, Berhane said, “This is a dangerous precedent. 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.”

The decision to temporarily block social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber was to prevent leakage of exam questions. Last month, questions for the top examination were posted on social media networks causing a national scandal leading to the cancellation of the entire exam.

Even though internet is said to be functioning normally, blocked social networking sites would be made accessible by Wednesday after being blocked since last Saturday morning.

Ethiopia filters internet regularly using firewalls which often slows network access. Problems of accessing social networking sites had been reported in some localities of the Oromo region during the anti-government protests, but blocking all sites nationwide is unprecedented in the country.

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution last week considering the restrictions of internet access as a violation of human rights. This was a few days after the election of Ethiopia as a non-permanent member of the UN security Council for a two year term.