Ethiopia un­blocks use of Face­book, Twit­ter

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

ADDIS ABABA: So­cial me­dia users in Ethiopia have been able to use so­cial net­work­ing sites Face­book and Twit­ter from Fri­day night with­out proxy sites after the so­cial me­dia plat­forms were un­blocked by Ethiopian au­thor­i­ties.

For the past nine months, Ethiopia’s two most pop­u­lar so­cial net­work­ing sites had been blocked.

Negeri Len­cho, Min­is­ter of the Ethiopian Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Af­fairs Of­fice, said the rea­son for the block­age of the so­cial net­work sites was their util­i­sa­tion by a few to cre­ate di­vi­sion and in­sta­bil­ity in the East African na­tion.

Pro­fes­sional net­work­ing site LinkedIn, photo shar­ing site In­sta­gram as well as text and file shar­ing sites WeChat and What­sApp, how­ever, weren’t in­cluded in the block­ade.

The na­tion­wide block­age of Face­book and Twit­ter co­in­cided with the de­cree of a six-month pe­riod of mar­tial law by the Ethiopian gov­ern­ment on Oc­to­ber 9, 2016, after a week of wide­spread anti-gov­ern­ment ri­ots in Ethiopia’s largest re­gional state Oro­mia left many lo­cal and for­eign busi­nesses dam­aged.

The ri­ots were trig­gered by a clash on Oc­to­ber 2 be­tween se­cu­rity forces and eth­nic Oromo protesters at an Oromo re­li­gious fes­ti­val Ir­recha in Bishoftu city, 37km south of Addis Ababa. The clash left at least 56 peo­ple dead when tear­gas fired by se­cu­rity forces to counter protesters caused a deadly stam­pede.

Ethiopia’s largest eth­nic group, the Oromo, makes up a third of the coun­try’s 100 mil­lion peo­ple.

Many Oro­mos are com­plain­ing of decades of eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural dis­en­fran­chise­ment. Xin­hua

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