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The Kenya Forum | Ethiopia Lifts Social Media Shutdown 5 Months Later - The Kenya Forum

July 19, 2023

Summary

In 2020, the country lost $100 million to internet outage which rose to $164.5 million in 2021, affecting 21.3 million users.

More by Winnie Kabintie

Ethiopia Lifts Social Media Shutdown 5 Months Later

Ethiopia Lifts Social Media Shutdown 5 Months Later

Internet shutdown in Ethiopia

Ethiopians can now access their favorite social media sites which include Facebook and Instagram after the government lifted a 5-month shutdown on Wednesday.

Internet watchdogs had reported a social media blackout in Ethiopia since February 9, this year. According to Amnesty International, the blockage followed calls for street protests by leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The current internet shutdown in Ethiopia is not isolated. The Ethiopian government has pulled similar censorships in the past. Between 2015 and 2017 the former government shut down the internet amid street protests.

Internet shutdowns cost Ethiopia $146 million in 2022

The northern region of Tigray, which has been characterized by war in the last two years, has been largely deprived of telecommunications for the two-year duration of the war.

Networks in Tigray have been partially restored since a peace agreement was signed in November 2022.

A new report by Top10VPN, a London-based VPN review firm that assesses internet privacy, security, and freedom shows that Ethiopian businesses have lost $145.8 million due to an internet blackout in Tigray last year that affected over 1 million internet users.

In 2020, the country lost $100 million to internet outage which rose to $164.5 million in 2021, affecting 21.3 million users.

Tigray had been home to over 5 million people before the war.

Government’s across the globe and especially in Africa have been weaponizing the internet and using shutdowns to bar free access and sharing of information, a trend that has been widely condemned by human rights defenders as an infringement on the right to access information.

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