Ethiopia’s communications crackdown targets Skype
A new law in Ethiopia has criminalised the use of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services such as Skype. Users could face up to 15 years of jail time. The law was passed May 24th, but the story wasn’t picked up by international media until recently.
Here are some highlights from around the web:
In Ethiopia using a service like Skype is “theoretically punishable by fifteen years in prison!”
#Ethiopia – #Skype, not allowed please use smoke signals
“@africareview: Ethiopia passes law outlawing Skype bit.ly/KP9qdf” , 15yrs jail time for skype??? Guess i’ll be emailing!
The reasons behind the ban were a cause for debate online. Two reported/ Reportedly explanations were national security and concern that Skype was hurting the state-owned telecommunications carrier.
The #Ethiopia’n government banned the use of all Internet phone service (VOIP), citing reasons of “national security”. My foot!
Remember #Ethiopia i/net cafe skype ban loosely enforced when I moved 6 years ago b/c ate into govt telcoms cashcow. Maybe this same idea?
Interesting point: #Ethiopia Skype ban is likely targeting internet cafes, where phone calls are free. Cuts into govt telecom business.
@SMGebru @Semhar @davos Cant foster an environment of innovation w so much strangulation of the pipes. Guess they have a strategy out of it
Calls outside Ethiopia cost a fortune. Govt seems unable to see beyond short term gain to open sector to comp and develop l/term potential
Government protecting of the telecommunications industry is not a new tactic. One Ethiopian sought asylum in the United Kingdom after the government accused him of using Skype to run an illegal competing phone service. A petition to stop his deportation from December 2011 was widely circulated online.
For many Ethiopians, the law is just the latest development in a trend of restrictive behaviour on the part of the government.
If you’re surprised about Skype being illegal in Ethiopia, you’ll be baffled to know that BlackBerry is also illegal. @Semhar @tmsruge
Samuel M. Gebru
In this video, recorded at the Oslo Freedom Forum, exiled journalist Abebe Gellaw discusses the manner in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi controls the country’s media.
[youtube pECH8Co_oxE 640 360]
Some have also noted a recent media workshop was held in Addis Ababa with the cooperation of the Chinese Communist Party. Users have been quick to point out that China has been known for restricting VOIP services.
Also slightly chilling to note “Internet management” a topic of media workshop between #Ethiopia and #China in Addis.. eprdf.org.et/web/guest/news…
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