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Ethiopia's unexplained internet 'rationing' continues, activists fume

Ethiopia's unexplained internet 'rationing' continues, activists fume


July 17: Connection short-lived as internet users fume

The connection in Ethiopia returned partially last Friday only for the disruption to be imposed again during the weekend into this week.

As at today, June 17, the BBC’s reporter confirmed that the situation was affecting many parts of the country. As at today, it’s been a whole week of unstable connection in the country.

When the connections are restored, they are usually sporadic reports have suggested. Text messaging remains inaccessible for the fifth day running.

In it’s update on July 14, NetBlocks (an internet rights group said): “Internet has partially returned to Ethiopia following four days of outages, however national connectivity remains unstable at 67%; messaging apps currently restricted.

“Following four days of near-total internet disruptions, network data show messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram remain restricted as connectivity partially returns to Ethiopia.”

The national exams for which the disruption is believed to have been imposed ends tomorrow (June 18), a journalist in Addis Ababa told Africanews late last week.

The government and operator, Ethio Telecom, have yet to address the issue – at least the reason for the outage.

Meanwhile, activists continue to slam the government over the measure with some sharing measures through which internet users could by-pass the system. Some have also mooted the idea of seeking judicial declaration on the issue.

June 14, 2019: Ethiopia restores internet connection, outage roundly rebuked

Reports and posts by social media users indicate that internet connectivity has been restored across Ethiopia on day four of an unexplained government shutdown.

The internet rights group, NetBlocks, were among the first to report of the outage on Tuesday (June 11). The cited a possible reason as an ongoing national exams for which authorities had blocked the internet around the same time in 2016 and 2017.

The said exam started this week and is expected to end next week Tuesday, a journalist in Addis Ababa confirmed to Africanews.

The government and state-run operator, Ethio Telecom, have not commented on the issue officially. An Africanews request for information has also gone unanswered.

On Wednesday, text messaging also suffered an outage as people widely reported of an inability to transmit messages. Despite the return of connectivity, SMS remains inaccessible.

Pro-democracy activists and journalists in the country have meanwhile chastised the government for turning off the internet in a time when reforms are being rolled out by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government.

One activist, Atnaf Brhane, observed that the internet had been shut down for four times in the period that Abiy has been in charge, thrice for politico-security reasons plus the current one.

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