A state of emergency declared in Ethiopia last week is growing more draconian by the day. Posting updates on the current status of the country, hit by anti-government protests since last November, is now a crime, the government said over the weekend.
Watching Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio, outlets run by the Ethiopian diaspora supportive of the protesters, is also illegal.
“The military command will take action on those watching and posting on these social media outlets,” Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense, said on state television. Those who violate the terms of the state of emergency risk imprisonment of three to five years.
Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and the Amhara, are protesting what they see as the marginalization of their rights and freedoms by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), dominated by the Tigray minority. After a week of intensified protests that left businesses and government property destroyed, prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared a state of emergency on Oct 9 for the next six months. Read more