Ethiopia's bloggers disappear again

The bulk of Ethiopia's bloggers disappeared from Ethiopian computer screens for the second time in seven months this week.

All sites hosted by the popular Blogspot platform stalled when internet users tried to log on to them through their Ethiopian Telecom Corp dial-up connections.

The small stable of anti-government blogs hosted on the platform – including Urael and EthioBlog – also remained inaccessible (they have been unreadable inside Ethiopia since May).

Some of the bloggers themselves were quick to point the finger of blame:

This attempt by the government to completely censor all information in and out of Ethiopia is a desperate effort to keep citizens ignorant and unaware


It can hardly come as a shock that the likes of Seminawork have been blocked again in Ethiopia. What is frustrating is that journalists will mitigate the block because authorities here will lie about it when asked. Memo to hacks: They're blocked. Period. It's not “mysterious”

wrote Addis Calling in Ethiopia Websites are Blocked.

It apparently didn't come as a shock to Seminawork. He simply added a postscript to his post about this weekend's Great Ethiopian Run, stating:

PS: All pro-democracy websites are now blocked in Ethiopia. Blogs which were unblocked for the last three months are blocked again including this blog.

Markmedia noticed the disappearances in his post Ethiopian government blocks bloggers:

…there is a blocking action against a large number of Ethiopian blog sites [both on and from]. I can not access any of the internationally hosted blogs from here in Addis. This is a strangulation of the freedom of speech and an obvious attempt to stop the flow of information on and about Ethiopia to its citizens.
It is not the first time this tactic has been used.

An interesting perspective came from Don't Eat My Buchela!, a new blog written by an “Ethiopian American Stay at Home Mom in Dalian, China”.

She described her frustrations at the widespread internet censorship going on in China in Information Highway… Detour Please!. And she noted some parallels:

I was googling recipes for injera and several pages I wanted to look at did not come up. Most interestingly, all the pages (political ones) that are blocked in Ethiopia don't come up here either. I was really looking forward to catching up on those once I got here. Little did I know some stuff about Ethiopia is blocked. I know the Ethiopian Telecommunication used Chinese experts to block undesirable political websites from the sensitive eyes of the public… may be the same experts that do the deed in China just extended their services to the Ethiopian Government blocking the websites both in China and Ethiopia?

Ethiopia's blogspot blogs first disappeared from Ethiopian computer screens in May (see GlobalVoices reports here and here). They reappeared three months later, only to disappear again this week.

The Ethiopian Government and its monopoly operator Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation have always denied any involvement.


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