Ethiopia most restrictive Sub Saharan Country, Freedom House reports 2013

Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of internet and mobile telephone penetration in the world, as meager infrastructure, a government monopoly over the telecom sector, and obstructive telecom policies have notably hindered the growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the country. Despite low access, the government maintains a strict system of controls over digital media, making Ethiopia the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa to implement nationwide internet filtering. Such a system is made possible by the state’s monopoly over the country’s only telecom company, Ethio Telecom, which returned to government control after a two-year management contract with France Telecom expired in December 2012. In addition, the government’s implementation of deep-packet inspection technology for censorship was indicated when the Tor network, which helps people communicate anonymously online, was blocked in mid- 2012.
Internet Freedom
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who ruled Ethiopia for over 20 years, died in August 2012 while seeking treatment for an undisclosed illness. Before his death was officially confirmed on August 20th, widespread media speculation about Zenawi’s whereabouts and the state of his health prompted the authorities to intensify its censorship of online content. A series of Muslim protests against religious discrimination in July 2012 also sparked increased efforts to control ICTs, with social media pages and news websites disseminating information about the demonstrations targeted for blocking. Moreover, internet and text messaging speeds were reported to be extremely slow, leading to unconfirmed suspicions that the authorities had deliberately obstructed telecom services as part of a wider crackdown on the Ethiopian Muslim press for its coverage of the demonstrations.
In 2012, legal restrictions on the use and provision of ICTs increased with the enactment of the Telecom Fraud Offences law in September,1 which toughened a ban on certain advanced internet applications and worryingly extended the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and 2004 CriminalCode to electronic communications.2 Furthermore, the government’s ability to monitor online activity and intercept digital communications became more sophisticated with assistance from the Chinese government, while the commercial spyware toolkit FinFisher was discovered in Ethiopia in August 2012.
Repression against bloggers, internet users and mobile phone users continued during the coverage period of this report, with at least two prosecutions reported. After a long trial and months of international advocacy on behalf of the prominent dissident blogger, Eskinder Nega, who was charged with supporting a terrorist group, Nega was found guilty in July 2012 and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Read Freedom House reports 2013, Full report about Ethiopia
Read Freedom House reports 2013, Full Report


  1. A labyrinth security upon the people of Ethiopia has made life unbearable in Ethiopian. The usurp TPLF/EPRDF regime has been frogmarching people, who they believe critic or unsupported, on spurious accusations to prison in lest of Arab Spring style uprising in Ethiopia, however, revolution is inevitable in Ethiopia. Perennial persecution on malice accusations, skyrocketing cost of living and high unemployment are striking revolution and it is inevitable in Ethiopia. The people have been living in complete destitution and frustration under Machiavellian ruling of TPLF/EPRDF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.