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Vol 54 No 8

Published 12th April 2013


Toeing the party online

The government tries to increase access to the internet and mobile telephony while restricting free speech and the media

The government has grown more sensitive to dissenters using the internet. Now it is blocking opposition websites and some social media, and using special programmes to spy on internet users. The restrictions attracted great interest last June when a storm of controversy broke over a draft law proposing up to 15 years in prison for anyone illegally using an internet telephone line or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the technology used by Microsoft’s Skype system. Addis Ababa insisted that the proposals were not aimed at private users. ‘You can Skype as much as you want,’ said an official spokesman.

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