2015 FREEDOM HOUSE REPORT: Freedom On the Net

Ethiopia, the second most populated country in sub-Saharan Africa, has one of the lowest rates of internet and mobile phone connectivity in the world. Telecommunication services, in general, and the internet, in particular, are among the most unaffordable commodities for the majority of Ethiopians, as poor telecom infrastructure, the government’s monopoly over the information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector, and obstructive telecom policies have significantly hindered the growth of ICTs in the country, making the cost of access prohibitively expensive.

Despite the country’s extremely poor telecommunications services and a largely disconnected population, Ethiopia is also known as one of the first African countries to censor the internet, beginning in 2006 with opposition blogs.[1] Since then, internet censorship has become pervasive and systematic through the use of highly sophisticated tools that block and filter internet content and monitor user activity. The majority of blocked websites feature critical news and opposition viewpoints run by individuals and organizations based in the diaspora. In the lead up to the May 2015 general elections, a growing number of critical news and opposition websites were blocked, while select tools, such as Storify and a popular URL shortening tool Bitly, remained blocked throughout the year. The government also employs commentators and trolls to proactively manipulate the online news and information landscape, and surveillance of mobile phone and internet networks is systematic and widespread.

Read the full report @ https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2015/ethiopia


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