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CPJ site blocked in Ethiopia

Reliable sources in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa have informed CPJ this week that our site was inaccessible on the servers of the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, the country's official Internet service provider. A handful of separate Internet users in the country have independently confirmed seeing "The page cannot be displayed" messages when attempting to access our site. The same sources have reported that e-mails they have tried to send to CPJ have not gone through.

Web sites, particularly foreign-based independent sites and blogs discussing political reform and human rights, have been blocked on a recurring basis in Ethiopia since the government cracked down on free media following disputed elections in 2005. In 2007, OpenNet said it has gathered "overwhelming evidence" that Ethiopia was among the nations worldwide restricting the Internet access of its citizens.

This time, the reports emerged over the weekend as CPJ was investigating the detention of newspaper editor Amare Aregawi in northern Ethiopia. Last year, sources in the country disclosed that the CPJ site was blocked on World Press Freedom Day, when CPJ named Ethiopia the world's worst backslider on press freedom. The moves are part of the Ethiopian government's pattern of restricting coverage of issues deemed sensitive such as the political activities of the foreign-based opposition, the high-profile trial of Ethiopian pop singer Teddy Afro, food shortage conditions, or the insurgency in the western Ogaden region.

Ethiopian journalists sent CPJ this screen shot of what they see when they try to access our site. Authorities have repeatedly denied blocking Web sites, even casting doubt "if the problem really exists," to quote Information Ministry Spokesman Zemedkun Tekle.

This week, in a telephone interview with CPJ, Bereket Simon, a top senior advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, echoed the same position. "The government has no policy of blocking Web sites. Accessibility to any Web site is open," he told me. He said he had not received any complaints from Ethiopians about blocked sites, and questioned whether such reports were credible. The government has no control over foreign-based sites, he said.

In July, Simon asserted that the mushrooming of private electronic media in Ethiopia was a sign that political dissent and free speech were not "shrinking." Still, many foreign-based news and human rights sites besides ours--including the popular U.S.-based Nazret--remain inaccessible.

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Comments

I wouldn't be surprise if the ethiopian brutal government denied internet access to his people. beside Mr B. Simon information minster he never admitted any wrong doing to his own people including murdering inocent student infront of media coverage evidence.
There fore, Ethiopia will never have a media freedom as long as this brutal dictator so called government in power.

Now a blog of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is inaccessible in Ethiopia. Is blocking CPJ's blog a prelude to accusing CPJ of trying to overthrow the "constitutional order" by force? In 18 years, Meles Zenawi has fought Ethiopians in every possbile way: from the ports to the economy, from the courts to the army. New laws are popping up for our enslavement. He has an agenda over us; we don't.

I am sorry about the lack of update information on the part of the CPJ which was supposed to be well-informed regarding the lot of the media people including the WOYANE effort to block access to the internet. It has been a usual practice of the unpopular government to deprive the people of the provinces of internet access by giving lame excuses like installing a new broadband system or repairing the existing ones, etc.

I read the article written by Mohamed Keita regarding CPJ site blocked in Ethiopia.

I am sory Mr. keita. Are you knew about Ethiopian Governmet information? Zemedkun Tekle and especially Bereket Simon never speak the truth. Why do you waste your time by asking them?

Please take another way in general to get the true information about Ethiopia. Otherwise, if you write information by asking Berket Simon, I consider your article as a fake. I am not writing this comment to defame Berket Simon or Zemedkun Tekle but it is true.

Berhanu Afrassie August 29, 2008 11:19:17 PM ET

Dear All

Denial is the character of Meles Zenawi's group Government for anything they did in a daylight.For us /Ethiopians/ is not new we lived with it for a decade. That is the only knowledge and skill they have in an operation they are not capable to control it, becuse they wish to control how you swallow your saliva if they could. Even they will deny immediately after they slap you infront of you. That is innate character of the so called EPRDF in general. What do we expect in a country and Government experienced with ruling by law in lieu of rule of law.

Labesha Dessta Challa

Desta Labesha Challa August 30, 2008 5:53:55 AM ET

The repressive regime in Ethiopia is notorious for tremendous fabrications of lies. Besides, people should know that the talking head of the régime Bereket Simon can not tell truth even to his one child. Lies are the very foundation of the administration. “Thanks” for America and its allies for the loyal support of the régime, the government will continue as oppressive.

What does the acronym, CPJ stands for, you should at least spell it out at the begining. Blockage of the websites and jamming of Radiostations has been going on for the last three years. It appears to me that you have not made a joint effort in these regard at least to appeal to the western democratic nations to have that portion of freedom of communication/free flow of information opened up by putting pressure/sanction on the current regime. That will facilitate the peacefull struggle for freedom and democracy.

CPJ is the most desgracful organization ever exisred. Criminal journalists who are in racceteering bussines and direct blackmail have found a good ear in your Org. If you love them why don't you teach Ethiopian journalists the rule of law. They can not say I have democracy and drive on any lane. If the law is on right lane then you have to drive on the right lane. You should be ashamed of yourself supporting these criminals.

Janet

Janet,

You must be either one of the TPLF goons who have no clue about what a real shame would mean or a clinically psychopath who gets a kick out of crime against humanity and genocide. Your idea of law is so perverse, it sounded like defending a serial rapist simply because he has a set of rules of which his victim is to choose from. It is beyond my comprehension how one could be so aptness and ignore cruelty against Ethiopians, simply because they happen to be different from the ruling ethnic minority. There is no rule of law in Ethiopia, the rule is, anyone who voices opposition or fails to surrender his/her natural right to TPLF bandits is bound to be criminal. Tigrean People liberation Front, using Agazi, the infamous paramilitary force, sets the rule of the land as it did in 2005, 200 hundred Peaceful demonstrators massacred tens of thousands detained and suffered in their hands. Rules written and authorized by those who took power by sheer military force should not be confused with rule of law ratified by popularly mandated body of governement.