Ethiopia lifts filtering of critical Web sites--at least for now

By Mohamed Keita/Africa Research Associate on March 4, 2009 5:59 PM ET

Journalists in Ethiopia informed CPJ over the weekend that our Web site, which was blocked to Internet users in the capital, Addis Ababa, since August, was accessible again. 

Independent Ethiopian online news forums and blogs based outside the country also reported that sites discussing political dissent and human rights were also suddenly accessible. The editors of the sites linked the development to the February 25 release of the U.S. State Department's "2008 Human Rights Report" on Ethiopia. The report accused the government of restricting Internet access to its citizens and of "blocking opposition Web sites."

Ethiopian authorities have consistently denied the accusation despite documented evidence gathered by OpenNet Initiative, an academic partnership that studies Internet censorship.

There has not been any public reaction from the government about this development, according to local journalists. However, a local editor who spoke to me on Tuesday on condition of anonymity told me that a temporary lifting of Internet filtering has been a common occurrence in recent years. 

Following a brutal crackdown on free media and political dissent in 2005, Internet users attempting to access sites and blogs critical of the government on the network of the state-controlled national provider Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation have seen "the page cannot be displayed" messages. In February, when CPJ launched its 2008 report on worldwide press freedom, which included a critical analysis of conditions in Ethiopia, local journalists reported that they could not access our Web site. In recent months, some local journalists have also reported their inability to send e-mails to a CPJ e-mail address.

We'll have to wait and see whether, as international attention turns away from Ethiopia, the sites yet again disappear from view.


"as international attention turns away from Ethiopia"

HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! you are funny. what international attention?? US publishes reports every year on EVERY COUNTRY. america did not even mention ethiopia in its press release about human rights issues. the annual report is published on all countries.
anyway, some african individuals with slave mentality don't have trust in government and always give credit to external "international" forces and take away credit from their own african government.

so if is makes you feel good CPJ, yeah "international attention" forced ethiopian government to "allow" websites.

Thanks to the donors for CPJ!!! international pressure did it again!! yeaaaaah!!

One correction that you need to make is that the critical websites were blocked since end of 2005.

The Ethiopian government better soften its position to avoid facing the world court, the world is going against dictators.

Hellow Friends,

The best for Ethiopians and the people in the Horn of Africa is if by any means the woyane disappears totally from the African continent.

Woyane is there to distablize the continent in order to satify the foreign enemies of Ethiopians and Africans.

We hope the woyane leaders and their cadres go the same way like Beshir of the Sudan sooner. We know and sure that they will be there.

Though Ethiopians shall have free media, the rule of law and democracy.

It is a good news for the time being, but as the saying goes "who laughs last, laughs longest" and let's see if the move extends for one month, then we will rejoice the next month. It is surprising that we Ethiopians claim to have reached the 21st century,but unable to have access to information that makes us comptetitive to the challenges of the 21st century. What a country Ethiopia is really! For how long are we to languish in darkness and absence of democracy? It really hurts to hear this kind of news. It hurts me a lot when I realise that my country men out there are un able to know about my wellbeing via the internet because they are barred from having it on the pretext that that email might contain some political message dangerous to the government.
Fellow Ethiopians, human rights doesn't have border, doesn't know politics or economics. It is just a right every one is entitled to it by birth, by virtue of being human. Please, let's not put the buck on the Westerners for our failure. Ethiopia needs democracy more than any thing else because democracy brings everything else.
God bless CPJ and Keita.

Well, it is like a piece of News as that of terminally ill person is told by his/her care taker that he/she has few more days to live as there is no cure for the ailment. Instead of finding a cure, in this case, TRUE DEMOCRACY-with all its values and instistutions- we are told to hope for the better by patronizing western powers and some of its supposedly HUMAN RIGHTS defenders.Woynae/TPLE regime, as some may think, is not a stable and even confident of its standing. It only so far survived by the inherent weakness of the oppostion and the polarization and ethnicization of Ethiopian politics. The role of mass media to galvanize the public and unify the polity is indespensible. Woyane, like its countpart the fascit Drge knows very well- THE PEN IS MIGHTER THAN THE GUN.Modern day tyrants and despots not only want to control information they dissmiate disinformation. If they can not stop the intrusion of technlogy into their bankers they set up cloned and front paltalks, web sites newspapers and some time they bow down to some international pressure to appease and buy time for their next on slaught.
Drip-drip- freedom of speech is only that- it can be closed any time even whe the driping is messy.

Hay, friends we know the hard time for the ruling party is coming, it's the 2010 election. It is announced that the coming election will be free and fair as the saying goes "Yaya gelo lekesso degagemo degagemo" and at the same time it close all private media. So how can free and fair election conducted with out media? this is the answer, the paradox and what they plan to do! However the day should come!!!

Well, I'm in Addis and as of today I can't get on CPJ, AOL, MSN, or almost any other sites, without going through a private proxy server, so, it may be a premature analysis, but it seems ETC is at it again! If anyone can confirm this please let me know. Hope it's a glitch!

Social Media

View All ›