Social Media Sites Temporarily Blocked in Ethiopia to Prevent Exam Leakage
Awramba Times (Meke’lle) – Ethiopian Authorities have blocked social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for the next few days, after questions from end-of-year exams were posted online last month, sparking a national scandal and leading to their annulment.
A government spokesperson said the ban was aimed at stopping students taking university entrance exams this week from being “distracted”.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber have been inaccessible through out the nation since Saturday morning.
“It’s blocked. It’s a temporary measure until Wednesday. Social media have proven to be a distraction for students,” government spokesperson Getachew Reda told AFP.
Ethiopian social media activists whom Awramba Times spoke to supported the government’s action as one of several alternative options to protect the interests of the nation’s young generation.
Senait Mebrahtu, social media activist and senior reporter of Prosperous Ethiopia, an online Ethiopian journal based in Canada, agrees with what the government has done to prevent potential damages against its own citizens. “When exam questions were stolen and posted on social medias last month, no one has benefited from it, besides being a PR consumption for those right-wing hard liners and extreme Oromo nationalists based in the Diaspora.” She said.
Senait also told Awramba Times that the dream of millions of youngsters shouldn’t be jeopardized for the sake of some power mongers.
“Who is going to repair the moral and psychological damages our young brothers and sisters faced since last month?” another social media activist Tilahun Desse underlined. “Would that be fair to talk about freedom of expression while some irresponsible political opponents deliberately kill the fate of our young generation” he said.
Both Senait and Tilahun believed that under such circumstances, whatever possible action taken by the government of Ethiopia to protect the interest of its citizens are justifiable.