The Ethiopian Government is known for its attempts to quash internet freedom amidst the country’s ethnic tensions – but are they fighting a losing battle?
By Ayo Awokoya (Raddington Report) |
With the most recent ethnic clashes in the Somali region, Ethiopia has now entered another crisis. According to government reports, 50 people have been killed and 50,000 displaced by violence that erupted last month along the disputed border that separates the Oromia and Somali regions.
The Oromo/Somali dispute is a microcosm of the wealth and power disparity that exists within Ethiopia. The state is built on a misguided premise: that a system of segregation based along ethnocentric lines can be both separate and equal. But in reality only one ethnic group, the Tigrayans, reigns dominant. Comprising of just six per cent of the country’s population, the Tigrayans have access to the highest centers of political and economic power. It is this disparity that lies at the center of Ethiopia’s ongoing crises.
Through 2014 and 2015, residents in the Oromo and Amhara regions began to protest over land acquisition and their increased marginalization. The Ethiopian government responded to the demonstrations with aggression, with the resulting clashes leaving more than 500 dead. Alarmed by the rising level of dissent, a ten month state of emergency was imposed and a heavy internet crackdown left many Ethiopians alienated from the outside world.
Some analysts have argued that the Tigrayan dominated government has capitalized on regional conflicts and used them to legitimize excessive use of force against demonstrators. This has tightened the government’s control over the country and attempted to silence those that have previously challenged its authority. The combined use of force and restrictions on internet freedom have been condemned by human rights organizations, who have accused the government of violating the privacy rights of the Ethiopian populace.
Read the complete story at Raddington Report
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- IRIN: Ethiopia’s Internet Crackdown Hurts Everyone
- Ethiopia Shuts down Internet Nationwide as Students Sit National Exams
- Access to the Internet, Censorship and Freedom of Information: Ethiopia Is So, So Bad!