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The Ethio Com, TPLF run parastatal, rated by ITU as the Least Service Provider and stands 162nd out of 166 surveyed countries, based on mobile phone and internet use December 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Internet Censorship, Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Facebook and Africa, Tweets and Africa.
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the International Tale communication Union (ITU)  rates Ethio Telecom as the Least Service Provider. The report in Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IDI) on October 24, 2014 shows that Ethiopia stands 162nd out of 166 surveyed countries, based on mobile phone and internet use. Among the major criteria that the ITU uses to rank countries are ICT intensity and usage level, and ICT capability or skills. see  http://www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/wtis14-mis-images.aspx

Denmark ranked Number One in ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI)*, a composite measurement that ranks 166 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. It is followed by the Republic of Korea. The IDI top 30-ranking include countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. In terms of regional comparisons, Europe’s average IDI value of 7.14 remains well ahead of the next best-performing region, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – 5.33), followed by the Americas (4.86), Asia & the Pacific (4.57), the Arab States (4.55), and Africa at 2.31. The CIS and the Arab States showed the highest improvement in regional IDI averages over the past 12 months.

Ethiopia in ITU

 

 

Rather than providing  market based quality services to the public, the Ethiopian government is using control of its telecom system as a tool to silence dissenting voices.The TPLF run  governmen tis using Chinese and European technology to survey phone calls and Internet activity in Ethiopia and among the diaspora living overseas . http://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/ethiopia-is-spying-on-its-citizens-with-foreign-tech

 

Ethiopia Scores the Worst (80) in Net Freedom in Africa & One of the 5 Worst Countries in the World: Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2014 Report and Key Findings. #Oromia December 4, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Dictatorship, Free development vs authoritarian model, Internet Freedom, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. Africa Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa.
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According to Freedom House: “The internet is a crucial medium through which people can express themselves and share ideas and has become an increasingly important tool through which democracy and human rights activists mobilize and advocate for political, social, and economic reform. Fearing the power of the new technologies, authoritarian states have devised subtle and not-so-subtle ways to filter, monitor, and otherwise obstruct or manipulate the openness of the internet.”

Ethiopia (80 marks)  is the worst performer in Africa and one of  the 5 worst performers in the world  (Iran,  Syria, China, Cuba and Ethiopia).

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net-2014/freedom-net-2014-graphics#.VIDhUNKsX5M

The following are Freedom House 2014 Report and Key findings on Ethiopia:-

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2014#.VIDatNKsX5O

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2014/ethiopia

Ethiopia: Key Findings:

POPULATION: 89.2 MILLION
INTERNET PENETRATION: 2 PERCENT
SOCIAL MEDIA/ICT APPS BLOCKED: YES
POLITICAL/SOCIAL CONTENT BLOCKED: YES
BLOGGERS/ICT USERS ARRESTED: YES
PRESS FREEDOM STATUS: NOT FREE
2014 FREEDOM ON THE NET TOTAL (0 = BEST, 100 = WORST) 80

2014 SCORES

FREEDOM ON THE NET STATUS

Not Free

FREEDOM ON THE NET TOTAL

(0 = BEST, 100 = WORST)
80

OBSTACLES TO ACCESS

(0 = BEST, 25 = WORST)
23

LIMITS ON CONTENT

(0 = BEST, 35 = WORST)
28

VIOLATIONS OF USER RIGHTS

(0 = BEST, 40 = WORST)
29
  • 2013 FREEDOM ON THE NET TOTAL (0 = BEST, 100 = WORST) 79
KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

May 2013 – May 2014

  • Telecom services worsened, characterized by frequently dropped phone calls, prolonged internet service interruptions, and slow response times to service failures (see Obstacles to Access).
  • Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and CNN were inaccessible for 12 hours in July 2013, while the number of permanently blocked webpages also increased (see Limits on Content).
  • A law enacted in November 2013 gives the Information Network Security Agency (INSA) carte blanche to inspect private online activities without oversight (see Violations of User Rights).
  • The government launched sophisticated surveillance malware against several online journalists in the Ethiopian diaspora and dissidents in exile (see Violations of User Rights).
  • Six bloggers of the prominent Zone9 blogging collective were arrested in April 2014 on charges of terrorism (see Violations of User Rights).

Introduction

Ethiopia continues to have one of the lowest rates of internet and mobile phone connectivity in the world, as meager infrastructure, government monopoly over the telecommunications sector, and obstructive telecom policies have significantly hindered the growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the country. Coupled with highly repressive laws and tactics aimed at restricting freedom of expression and access to information, internet freedom in Ethiopia is consistently rated the worst in sub-Saharan Africa and among the worst in the world.

Despite the country’s extremely poor telecommunications services and a largely disconnected population, Ethiopia is also known as one of the first African countries to censor the internet, beginning in 2006 with opposition blogs.[1] Since then, internet censorship has become pervasive and systematic through the use of highly sophisticated tools that block and filter internet content and monitor user activity. The majority of blocked websites feature critical news and opposition viewpoints run by individuals and organizations based mostly in the diaspora. Surveillance of mobile phone and internet networks is systematic and widespread, enabled by Chinese-made technology that allows for the interception of SMS text messages, recording of phone calls, and centralized monitoring of online activities. The government also employs commentators and trolls to proactively manipulate the online news and information landscape.

During the report’s coverage period, internet freedom in Ethiopia worsened due to increasing restrictions on access to social media and communications tools, such as Storify, and the temporary blocking of Facebook and Twitter in July 2013. A new law passed in November 2013 gave the Information Network Security Agency (INSA) carte blanche to track private online communications and investigate electronic devices without oversight. In addition, a number of diaspora journalists and exiled dissidents were targeted with surveillance malware, demonstrating a growing level of sophistication in the government’s effort to silence critical voices that extends beyond the country’s borders.

In 2014, the Ethiopian authorities increased their crackdown against bloggers and online journalists, using the country’s harsh laws to prosecute individuals for their online activities and quash dissent. Most alarmingly, six bloggers from the critical Zone9 blogging collective and three journalists associated with Zone9 were arrested in late April 2014 on charges of terrorism, which, under the Telecom Fraud Offenses Law and anti-terrorism proclamation, can entail a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if the bloggers are found guilty. The Zone9 case was repeatedly stalled by the courts throughout 2014, leaving the bloggers in pre-trial detention for over six months as of late-2014.  Meanwhile, two online radio journalists were arrested and detained for a week without charges in August 2013, and the prominent dissident blogger, Eskinder Nega, and award-winning journalist, Reeyot Alemu, continue to serve lengthy prison sentences, despite international pressure for their release. The overall crackdown has had a major chilling effect on internet freedom and freedom of expression in the country, leading to increasing levels of self-censorship among online journalists, bloggers, and ordinary users alike.

OBSTACLES TO ACCESS: 

In 2013 and 2014, access to ICTs in Ethiopia remained extremely limited, hampered by slow speeds and the state’s tight grip on the telecom sector.[2] According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), internet penetration stood at a mere 1.9 percent in 2013, up from 1.5 percent in 2012.[3] Only 0.25 percent of the population had access to fixed-broadband internet, increasing from 0.01 percent in 2012.[4] Ethiopians had more access to mobile phone services, with mobile phone penetration rates increasing from 22 percent in 2012 to 27 percent in 2013,[5] though such access rates still lag behind a regional average of 80 percent.[6] Meanwhile, less than 5 percent of the population has a mobile-broadband subscription.[7] Radio remains the principal mass medium through which most Ethiopians stay informed.

While access to the internet via mobile phones increased slightly in the last year, prohibitively expensive mobile data packages still posed a significant financial obstacle for the majority of the population in Ethiopia, where per capita income in 2013 stood at US$470.[8] Ethiopia’s telecom market is very unsaturated due to monopolistic control, providing customers with few options at arbitrary prices.[9] Prices are set by the state-controlled Ethio Telecom and kept artificially high. As of mid-2014, monthly packages cost between ETB 200 and 3,000 (US$10 to $150) for 1 to 30 GB of 3G mobile services.[10]

The computer remains the most practical option for going online, though in 2014, personal computers are still prohibitively expensive. The combined cost of purchasing a computer, initiating an internet connection, and paying usage charges makes internet access beyond the reach of most Ethiopians. Consequently, only 2 percent of Ethiopian households had internet access in their homes in 2013.[11] The majority of internet users rely on cybercafes to log online, leading to a growth of cybercafes in recent years, particularly in large cities. A typical internet user in Addis Ababa pays between ETB 5 and 7 (US$0.25 to $0.35) for an hour of access. Because of the scarcity of internet cafes outside urban areas, however, rates in rural cybercafes are more expensive.

For the few Ethiopians who can access the internet, connection speeds are known to be painstakingly slow. For years, logging into an email account and opening a single message could take as long as six minutes at a standard cybercafe with broadband in the capital city.[12]According to May 2014 data from Akamai’s “State of the Internet” report, Ethiopia has an average connection speed of 1.2 Mbps (compared to a global average of 3.9 Mbps).[13] Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s broadband adoption (characterized by connection speeds greater than 4 Mbps) is less than 3 percent,[14] while the country’s narrowband adoption (connection speed below 256 Kbps) is about 20 percent among those with access.[15] Numerous users reported that internet and text messaging speeds were extremely slow during the coverage period, with services completely unavailable at times.[16] Frequent electricity outages are also a contributing factor to poor telecom services.

Despite reports of massive investments from Chinese telecom companies in recent years,[17] Ethiopia’s telecommunications infrastructure is among the least developed in Africa and is almost entirely absent from rural areas, where about 85 percent of the population resides. The country is connected to the international internet via satellite, a fiber-optic cable that passes through Sudan and connects to its international gateway, and the SEACOM cable that connects through Djibouti to an international undersea cable. In an effort to expand connectivity, the government has reportedly installed several thousand kilometers of fiber-optic cable throughout the country over the past few years.[18] Construction of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) was completed and launched in July 2010, but its effects on Ethiopia have yet to be seen as of mid-2014.[19]

The space for independent initiatives in the ICT sector, entrepreneurial or otherwise, is extremely limited,[20] with state-owned Ethio Telecom holding a firm monopoly over internet and mobile phone services in the country. Consequently, all connections to the international internet are completely centralized via Ethio Telecom, enabling the government to cut off the internet at will. As a result, the internet research company Renesys classified Ethiopia “as being at severe risk of Internet disconnection,” alongside Syria, Uzbekistan, and Yemen in a February 2014 assessment.[21] During the coverage period, one Renesys report found that 40 percent of Ethiopia’s networks were down for a few hours on July 18, 2013 as a result of a disruption on the SEACOM network, though the exact reason for the disruption was unknown.[22]In September 2013, a number of cybercafe owners in Ethiopia reported an increasing trend of unpredictable internet connections and speeds beginning in June that resulted in a significant decline in business, with internet connections reported as unavailable for up to 15 days in a month.[23]

Mobile phone networks—also completely centralized under Ethio Telecom—are similarly vulnerable to service disruptions and shutdowns by the government, which often occur during politically sensitive times. During the coverage period, there were frequent reports of dropped cell phone and landline calls, complete network blackouts in many parts of the country,[24] and overlapping voices in calls. The latter phenomenon led people to suspect government engagement in a widespread eavesdropping scheme (see “Violations of User Rights” for details on surveillance).

Meanwhile, cybercafes are subject to onerous requirements under the 2002 Telecommunications (Amendment) Proclamation,[25] which requires cybercafe owners to obtain an operating license with Ethio Telecom via a murky process that can take months. During the coverage period, Ethio Telecom began enforcing its licensing requirements more strictly in response to the increasing spread of cybercafes, reportedly penalizing Muslim cafe owners more harshly. Violations of the stringent requirements, such as a prohibition on providing Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services, entail criminal liability.[26]

Despite repeated international pressure to liberalize telecommunications in Ethiopia, the government has not eased its grip on the sector.[27] In June 2013, the prime minister publicly affirmed that the government would maintain a monopoly over the country’s telecoms.[28] In the meantime, China has emerged as a key investor and contractor in Ethiopia’s telecommunications industry,[29] and in July 2013, the government signed a US$1.6 billion agreement with the Chinese telecom companies, Zhongxing Telecommunication Corporation (ZTE) and Huawei, to upgrade its broadband network to 4G in Addis Ababa and expand 3G across the country.[30] The networks built by the Chinese firms have been criticized for their high costs and poor service,[31] though the partnership has enabled Ethiopia’s authoritarian leaders to maintain their hold over the telecom sector.[32] Furthermore, the contracts have led to increasing fears that the Chinese may also be assisting the authorities in developing more robust internet and mobile phone censorship and surveillance capacities.[33]

The Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) and the Ethiopian Telecommunications Agency (ETA) are the primary regulatory bodies overseeing the telecommunications sector. These two organizations were established as autonomous federal agencies, but both are highly controlled government bodies.

LIMITS ON CONTENT: 

During the coverage period, over a hundred websites remained inaccessible in Ethiopia, with a greater number of online tools and services targeted for blocking. A June 2014 report affirmed the government’s efforts to recruit and train progovernment citizens to attack politically objectionable content online.

The Ethiopian government imposes nationwide, politically motivated internet blocking and filtering that tends to tighten ahead of sensitive political events. The majority of blocked websites are those that feature opposition or critical content run by individuals or organizations based in the country or the diaspora. The government’s approach to internet filtering generally entails hindering access to a list of specific internet protocol (IP) addresses or domain names at the level of the Ethio Telecom-controlled international gateway. A more sophisticated strategy of blocking websites based on a keyword in the URL path, known as deep-packet inspection (DPI),[34] was detected in May 2012 when the Tor network—an online tool that enables users to browse anonymously—was blocked.[35]

In January 2014, an independent test conducted by a researcher based in the country found 120 unique URLs that were inaccessible in the country, 62 of which were Ethiopian news websites, 14 of which were political party websites, 37 of which were blogs, and 7 of which were television and online radio websites.[36] During the test, some websites opened at the first attempt but were inaccessible when refreshed. The test also found that select tools and services on Google’s Android operating system on smart phones were inaccessible at irregular intervals but for unclear reasons. A separate test on over 1,400 URLs between July and August 2013 by the OpenNet Initiative in partnership with Human Rights Watch similarly found 62 websites blocked altogether and numerous others intermittently inaccessible.[37]

International news outlets were increasingly targeted for censorship. Al Arabiya, a Saudi Arabia-based media outlet, and both of Al Jazeera’s Arabic and English websites were intermittently blocked during the coverage period.[38] In July 2013, websites belonging to Yahoo and CNN were reportedly inaccessible for about 12 hours. Facebook and Twitter were also targets of the short-term July 2013 blocking.[39]There was no evident impetus or reason for the short-term blocking, and other major services such as Gmail and new outlets such as the New York Times remained accessible. Nevertheless, the incident further increased worries over reports of government plans to block popular social media tools completely.[40] Facebook and Twitter platforms were otherwise generally accessible, although some individual Facebook groups belonging to opposition individuals remained blocked altogether, particularly when accessed via the unencrypted (http://) URL pathway. Meanwhile, the social media curation tool Storify—first blocked in July 2012[41]—remained blocked during the coverage period,[42] while the URL shortening tool Bit.ly was inexplicably blocked in late 2013.[43]

In the past few years, the authorities have become more sophisticated in their censorship techniques, electing to block select webpages as opposed to entire websites. Critical online news articles are usually targeted, such as an August 2012 Forbes article titled, Requiem for a Reprobate Ethiopian Tyrant Should Not Be Lionized,” which was blocked for criticizing the local and global praise of the former prime minister’s debatable economic growth achievements; the article remained blocked as of June 2014.[44] A July 2013 YouTube video of the antigovernment Muslim protests that occurred from 2012-13 was also blocked as of late 2013.[45]

International blog-hosting platforms such as Blogspot have been frequently blocked since the disputed parliamentary elections of 2005, during which the opposition used online communication tools to organize and disseminate information that was critical of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.[46] In 2007, the government instituted a blanket block on the domain names of two popular blog-hosting websites, Blogspot and Nazret, though the authorities have since become more sophisticated in their censorship techniques, now blocking select pages such as the Zone9 independent blog hosted on Blogspot,[47] as opposed to the entire blogging platform. Nazret, however, remained completely blocked as of June 2014. Circumvention strategies have also been targeted, with the term “proxy” yielding no search results on Google,[48] according to an independent source. Meanwhile, the terms “sex” or “porn” are still searchable.

In addition to increasing blocks of online content, politically objectionable content is often targeted for removal, often by way of threats from security officials who personally seek out users and bloggers to instruct them to take down certain content, particularly critical content on Facebook. The growing practice suggests that at least some voices within Ethiopia’s small online community are being closely monitored. Some restrictions are also placed on mobile phones, such as the requirement for a text message to obtain prior approval from Ethio Telecom if it is to be sent to more than ten recipients.[49] A bulk text message sent without prior approval is automatically blocked.

There are no procedures for determining which websites are blocked or why, which precludes any avenues for appeal. There are no published lists of blocked websites or publicly available criteria for how such decisions are made, and users are met with an error message when trying to access blocked content. This lack of transparency is exacerbated by the government’s continued denial of its censorship efforts. Meanwhile, the decision-making process does not appear to be controlled by a single entity, as various government bodies—including the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Ethio Telecom, and the ministry of ICT—seem to be implementing their own lists, contributing to a phenomenon of inconsistent blocking.

Lack of adequate funding is a significant challenge for independent online media in Ethiopia, as fear of government pressure dissuades local businesses from advertising with politically critical websites. Local newspapers and web outlets receive their news and information from regime critics and opposition organizations in the diaspora. While the domestic Ethiopian blogosphere has been expanding, most blogging activity on Ethiopian issues still originates in the diaspora. Few Ethiopian journalists work for both the domestic print media and overseas online outlets due to the threat of repercussions.

Increasing repression against journalists and bloggers has had a major chilling effect on expression online, particularly following the arrest of the Zone9 bloggers in April 2014 (see “Violations of User Rights”). Fear of pervasive surveillance has led to widespread self-censorship, and many bloggers publish anonymously to avoid reprisals.[50] Notably, users on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter seem to practice a lower degree of self-censorship, which may be due to poor awareness of privacy settings, or the perception that posts on social media are anonymous or more secure.

Despite extremely low levels of internet access, the authorities employ progovernment commentators and trolls to proactively manipulate the online news and information landscape. Acrimonious exchanges between commentators on apologist websites and an array of diaspora critics and opposition figures have become common in online political debates. There was a noticeable increase in the number of progovernment commentators during the coverage period, as confirmed in a June 2014 report by the Ethiopian Satellite Television Service (ESAT) that detailed the government’s efforts to recruit and train progovernment citizens to attack politically objectionable content online. According to the ESAT report, hundreds of bloggers who report directly to government officials had been trained on how to post progovernment comments and criticize antigovernment articles on social media platforms.[51]

As the country prepares for the upcoming 2015 National Election, the state media has stepped up its campaign against the press in general and the use of social media in particular, claiming that foreign agents and terrorists are using social media to destabilize the country. Consequently, many civil society groups based in the country are wary of mobilizing against the government, and calls for protest come mostly from the Ethiopian diaspora rather than from local activists who fear the government’s violent crackdowns against protest movements.

Nevertheless, over the past few years, Facebook has become one of the most popular mediums through which Ethiopians share and consume information. Social media services have also become significant platforms for political deliberation and social justice campaigns. For example, in September 2013, a group of young Ethiopian bloggers and activists based in Addis Ababa launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign on the occasion of Ethiopia’s New Year celebration to share their vision of a better Ethiopia, using the hashtag #EthiopianDream.[52] In November 2013, Ethiopians responded to the Saudi government’s crackdown on undocumented Ethiopian immigrants in Saudi Arabia by organizing the online campaign, #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia, to protest the abusive treatment of Ethiopian immigrants.[53]

Netizen activism was particularly pronounced and widespread following the arrest of six Zone9 bloggers and three journalists for their alleged affiliation with the Zone9 collective (see “Violations of User Rights”). Ethiopian bloggers and social media users flocked online to spread the #FreeZone9Bloggers hashtag in a campaign that quickly swept across the social media sphere and garnered widespread support from around the world. Within five days, the #FreeZone9Bloggers hashtag had been tweeted more than 8,000 times.[54] Unfortunately, the international campaign elicited no response from the government, and the imprisoned bloggers and journalists are still awaiting trial on charges of terrorism as of late-2014.

VIOLATIONS OF USER RIGHTS: 

During the coverage period, the Ethiopian government’s already limited space for online expression continued to deteriorate alongside its poor treatment of journalists. A new proclamation passed in November 2013 empowered INSA with sweeping surveillance capabilities without judicial oversight. Sophisticated malware was launched against online radio journalists and dissidents in exile, while repression against bloggers and ICT users in the country increased notably. Six bloggers of the critical Zone9 blogging collective were arrested for their alleged terrorist activities.

The 1995 Ethiopian constitution guarantees freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and access to information, while also prohibiting censorship.[55] These constitutional guarantees are affirmed in the 2008 Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation, known as the press law, which also provides certain protections for media workers, such as prohibiting the pre-trial detention of journalists.[56]Nevertheless, the press law also includes problematic provisions that contradict constitutional protections and restrict free expression. For example, media outlets are required to obtain licenses to operate through an onerous registration process that applies to all outlets, regardless of size, though it is uncertain whether the press law’s broad language encompasses online media.[57] Penalties for violating the registration requirement and other restrictions on content, such as defamation, involve high fines and up to two and three years in prison, respectively.[58]

In September 2012, the government codified specific restrictions on various telecommunications activities through the passage of the Telecom Fraud Offences law,[59] which revised a 1996 law that had placed bans on certain communication applications, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)[60]—including Skype and Google Voice—call back services, and internet-based fax services.[61] Under the new law, the penalties under the preexisting ban were toughened, increasing the fine and maximum prison sentence from five to eight years for offending service providers, and penalizing users with three months to two years in prison.[62] The law also added the requirement for all individuals to register their telecommunications equipment—including smart phones—with the government, which security officials typically enforce by confiscating ICT equipment when a registration permit cannot be furnished at security checkpoints, according to sources in the country.

Most alarmingly, the Telecom Fraud Offences law extended the violations and penalties defined in the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and 2004 Criminal Code to electronic communications, which are broadly defined yet explicitly include both mobile phone and internet services.[63] The anti-terrorism legislation prescribes prison sentences of up to 20 years for the publication of statements that can be understood as a direct or indirect encouragement of terrorism, vaguely defined.[64] Meanwhile, the criminal code holds any “author, originator or publisher” criminally liable for content allegedly linked to offenses such as treason, espionage, or incitement, which carries with it the penalty of up to life imprisonment or death.[65] The criminal code also penalizes the publication of a “false rumor” with up to three years in prison.[66]

In 2014, the Ethiopian authorities increased their crackdown against bloggers and online journalists, using the country’s harsh laws to prosecute individuals for their online activities and silence dissent. Most alarmingly, six bloggers from the critical Zone9 blogging collective and three journalists associated with Zone9 were arrested in late April 2014 on charges of terrorism. They were accused of “working with foreign organizations that claim to be human rights activists… and receiving finance to incite public violence through social media,”[67]though the arrests had occurred just days following Zone9’s Facebook post announcing plans to resume its activism. The blogging collective had been inactive for seven months as a result of “a considerable amount of surveillance and harassment” the bloggers had suffered at the hands of security agents for their writings and social media activism.[68] Despite widespread international condemnation of the Zone9 arrests, the detainees were denied bail in August and remained in jail as of fall 2014, awaiting trial.[69] Meanwhile, the well-known dissident journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega is still carrying out an 18-year prison sentence handed down in July 2012 under the anti-terrorism law.[70]

Numerous other journalists and media outlets—both online and print—were targeted for arrest and prosecutions during the coverage period, including Darsema Sori and Khalid Mohammed who were arrested in August 2013 for their work with the online radio station, Radio Bilal, which is known for its extensive coverage of the 2012-13 antigovernment protests organized by Ethiopian Muslims. They were released after being held for a week without charges,[71] but the arrests were in keeping with the government’s concerted efforts to silence the protests.

Given the high degree of online repression in Ethiopia, some political commentators use proxy servers and anonymizing tools to hide their identities when publishing online and to circumvent filtering, though the ability to communicate anonymously has become more difficult. The Tor Network anonymizing tool was blocked in May 2012, confirming that the government has deployed deep-packet inspection technology, and Google searches of the term “proxy” mysteriously yield no results.

Anonymity is further compromised by strict SIM card registration requirements. Upon purchase of a SIM card through Ethio Telecom or an authorized reseller, individuals must provide their full name, address, government-issued identification number, and a passport-sized photograph. Ethio Telecom’s database of SIM registrants enables the government to cut-off the SIM cards belonging to targeted individuals and to restrict those individuals from registering for new SIM cards. Internet subscribers are also required to register their personal details, including their home address, with the government. In 2013, an inside informant leaked worrying details of potential draft legislation that seeks to mandate real-name registration for all internet users in Ethiopia, though there are no further details of this development as of mid-2014.[72]

Government surveillance of online and mobile phone communications is pervasive in Ethiopia, and evidence has emerged in recent years that reveal the scale of such practices. According to 2014 Human Rights Watch research, there are strong indications that the government has deployed a centralized monitoring system from the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, known as ZXMT, to monitor phone lines and various types of communications, including mobile phone networks and the internet.[73] Known for its use by repressive regimes in Libya and Iran, ZXMT enables deep-packet inspection (DPI) of internet traffic across the Ethio Telecom network and has the ability to intercept emails and web chats.

Another ZTE technology, known as ZSmart, is a customer management database installed at Ethio Telecom that provides the government with full access to user information and the ability to intercept SMS text messages and record phone conversations.[74] ZSmart also allows security officials to locate targeted individuals through real-time geolocation tracking of mobile phones.[75] While the extent to which the government has made use of the full range of ZTE’s sophisticated surveillance systems is unclear, the authorities frequently present intercepted emails and phone calls as evidence during trials against journalists and bloggers or during interrogations as a scare tactic.[76]

In November 2013, a new Cyber Security Law expanded the surveillance powers of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA)—the government body established in 2011 to preside over the security of the country’s critical communications infrastructure.[77] According to reports, the law states that “social media outlets, blogs and other internet related media have great capabilities to instigate war, to damage the country’s image and create havoc in the economic atmosphere of the country”—setting the logic for expanding INSA’s duties to include developing offensive cyber capabilities and ICT tools. The proclamation also empowers INSA to investigate computers, networks, internet, radio, television, and social media platforms “for any possible damage to the country’s social, economic, political and psychological well being.”[78]

INSA reportedly uses sophisticated spyware, such as the commercial toolkit FinFisher—a device that can secretly monitor computers by turning on webcams, record everything a user types with a key logger, and intercept Skype calls—to target dissidents and supposed threats.[79] A leaked document confirmed that the UK-based company, Gamma International, had provided Ethio Telecom with the FinFisher surveillance toolkit at some point between April and July 2012.[80] In addition, research conducted by Citizen Lab in March 2013 worryingly found evidence of an Ethio Telecom-initiated FinSpy campaign launched against users that employed pictures of the exiled prodemocracy group, Ginbot 7, as bait.[81]

There has been an increasing trend of exiled dissidents targeted with surveillance malware in the past few years. In April 2013, Tadesse Kersmo, a senior member of Ginbot-7 living in exile in the United Kingdom since 2009, came across the above-mentioned Citizen Lab FinSpy report and noticed that one of the spyware campaign’s bait was a picture of himself.[82] He contacted Citizen Lab to have his computer examined and found that FinSpy had been active on his computer over two days in June 2012.[83] The spyware may have transmitted any or all of Kersmo’s emails, chats, Skype calls, files, and web searches to a server based in Ethiopia, which could have provided the authorities with names of contacts, colleagues, and family members still living in the country.[84]  In February 2014, Privacy International filed a criminal complaint to the UK’s National Cyber Crime Unit on Kersmo’s behalf, urging them to investigate the potential unlawful interception of communications.

In the same month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a similar suit in the United States on behalf of another Ethiopian dissident (and American citizen) identified publicly under the pseudonym Mr. Kidane.[85] Kidane’s computer had also been found infected with the FinSpy malware sometime between late October 2012 and March 2013, which had secretly recorded dozens of his Skype calls, copied emails he had sent, and logged a web search conducted by his son on the history of sports medicine for a school research project.[86] The FinSpy IP address was linked to a server belonging to Ethio Telecom.

Recent Citizen Lab research published in February 2014 uncovered the use of Remote Control System (RCS) spyware against two employees of the diaspora-run independent satellite television, radio, and online news media outlet, Ethiopian Satellite Television Service (ESAT), based in Alexandria, VA.[87] Made by the Italian company Hacking Team, RCS spyware is advertised as “offensive technology” sold exclusively to law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, and has the ability to steal files and passwords, and intercept Skype calls/chats. [88] While Hacking Team claims that they do not deal with “repressive regimes,”[89] the RCS virus sent via sophisticated bait to the two ESAT employees made it clear that the attack was targeted, and researchers have strong suspicions of the Ethiopian government’s involvement.[90]

While the government’s stronghold over the Ethiopian ICT sector enables it to proactively monitor users, its access to user activity and information is less direct at cybercafes. For a period following the 2005 elections, cybercafe owners were required to keep a register of their clients, but the requirement has not been enforced since mid-2010.[91] Nevertheless, some cybercafe operators revealed that they are required to report any “unusual behavior” to security officials, and officials often visit cybercafes (sometimes in plainclothes) to ask questions about specific users or monitor user activity themselves.[92]

Government security agents frequently harass and intimidate bloggers, online journalists, and ordinary users for their online activities. Independent bloggers are often summoned by the authorities to be warned against discussing certain topics online, while activists claim that they are consistently threatened by state security agents for their online activism. Bloggers from Zone9, for example, reported suffering a considerable amount of harassment for their work, leading them to go silent for several months. Shortly after the blog announced on Facebook that it was resuming activities in April 2014, six Zone9 bloggers were arrested and sent to a federal detention center in Addis Ababa where the torture of detainees is reportedly common.[93] The active Gmail accounts belonging to several of the Zone9 bloggers[94] while in detention suggests that they may have been forced give their passwords to security officials against their will.

NOTES: 

[1] Rebecca Wanjiku, “Study: Ethiopia only sub-Saharan Africa nation to filter net,” Computerworld, October 8, 2009, http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=353092F0-1A64-67EA-E4FBE79C305B60AB.

[2] Tom Jackson, “Telecoms slow down development of Ethiopian tech scene – iceaddis,” humanipo, October 22, 2013, http://www.humanipo.com/news/34843/telecoms-slow-down-development-of-ethiopian-tech-scene-iceaddis/.

[3] International Telecommunication Union, “Percentage of Individuals Using the Internet, 2000-2013,” http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx.

[4] International Telecommunication Union, “Fixed (Wired)-Broadband Subscriptions, 2000-2013.”

[5] International Telecommunication Union, “Mobile-Cellular Telephone Subscriptions, 2000-2013.”

[6] John Koetsier, “African mobile penetration hits 80% (and is growing faster than anywhere else),” Venture Beat, December 3, 2013, http://venturebeat.com/2013/12/03/african-mobile-penetration-hits-80-and-is-growing-faster-than-anywhere-else/.

[7] International Telecommunication Union, “Ethiopia Profile (Latest data available: 2013),” ICT-Eye, accessed August 1, 2014.

[8] World Bank, “Ethiopia Overview,” last updated July 21, 2014, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview.

[9] “Ethiopia – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts,” Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. June 2014,http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/1222503/ethiopia_telecoms_mobile_broadband_and.

[10] Ethio Telecom’s Facebook page, post on September 7, 2014, accessed October 1, 2014, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1501293840115809&id=1435268306718363.

[11] International Telecommunication Union, “Ethiopia Profile (Latest data available: 2013),” ICT-Eye, accessed August 1, 2014, http://www.itu.int/net4/itu-d/icteye/CountryProfileReport.aspx?countryID=77.

[12] Kebena, “Internet Access in the Capital of Africa, Addis Ababa,” video, EthioTube.net, posted June 19, 2010, last accessed August 1, 2014, http://www.ethiotube.net/video/9655/Internet-Access-in-the-Capital-of-Africa-Addis-Ababa.

[13] Akamai, “Average Connection Speed: Ethiopia,” map visualization, The State of the Internet Q1 (2014), http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/soti-visualizations.html#stoi-map.

[14] Akamai, “Broadband Adoption (connections to Akamai >4 Mbps): Ethiopia,” map visualization, The State of the Internet, Q1 2014, http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/soti-visualizations.html#stoi-map.

[15] Akamai, “Narrowband Adoption (connections to Akamai <256 kbps): Ethiopia,” map visualization, The State of the Internet, Q1 2014, http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/soti-visualizations.html#stoi-map.

[16] Bewket Abebe, “Internet Connection Grief,” Addis Fortune, September 29, 2013, http://allafrica.com/stories/201310020838.html?viewall=1.

[17] Aaron Maasho, “Ethiopia signs $700 mln mobile network deal with China’s Huawei,” Reuters, July 25, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/ethiopia-mobile-huawei-idUSL6N0FV4WV20130725.

[18] Bewket Abebe, “Internet Connection Grief,” Addis Fortune, September 29, 2013.

[19] Brian Adero, “WIOCC-EASSy Cable Ready for Business,” IT News Africa, July 23, 2010, http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=8419.

[20] Al Shiferaw, “Connecting Telecentres: An Ethiopian Perspective,” Telecentre Magazine, September 2008, http://bit.ly/16DdF6Z.

[21] Jim Cowie, “Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine: Internet Under Fire,” Renesys (blog), February 26, 2014, http://www.renesys.com/2014/02/internetunderfire/.

[22] Renesys, Twitter post, July 18, 2013, 5:10pm, https://twitter.com/renesys/status/357955490237513729/photo/1.

[23] Bewket Abebe, “Internet Connection Grief,” Addis Fortune, September 29, 2013.

[24] Yonas Abiye, “Network Blackout Hits Addis As Parliament Slams Ethio Telecom,” The Reporter, February 8, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201402102129.html.

[25] “Proclamation No. 281/2002, Telecommunications (Amendment Proclamation,” Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 28, July 2, 2002, http://bit.ly/1snLgsc.

[26] Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency, “License Directive for Resale and Telecenter in Telecommunication Services No. 1/2002,” November 8, 2002, accessed August 4, 2014,http://bit.ly/1pUtpWh.

[27] “US urge Ethiopia to Liberalise Telecom Sector,” Africa News via Somali State, March 10, 2010, http://www.somalistate.com/englishnewspage.php?articleid=4638; Technology Strategies International, “ICT Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia—2010,” March 1, 2010, http://bit.ly/1bmsGvq.

[28] “Ethio Telecom to remain monopoly for now,” TeleGeography, June 28, 2013, http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2013/06/28/ethio-telecom-to-retain-monopoly-for-now/.

[29] “Ethiopia’s Ethio Telecom signs deal with China’s ZTE,” BBC, August 19, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23754626.

[31] Matthew Dalton, “Telecom Deal by China’s ZTE, Huawei in Ethiopia Faces Criticism,” The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2014,http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303653004579212092223818288.

[32] “Out of reach,” The Economist, August 24, 2013.

[33] Based on allegations that the Chinese authorities have provided the Ethiopian government with technology that can be used for political repression—such as surveillance cameras and satellite jamming equipment—in the past. See: “China Involved in ESAT Jamming,” Addis Neger, June 22, 2010, http://addisnegeronline.com/2010/06/china-involved-in-esat-jamming/, Gary Sands, “Ethiopia’s Broadband Network – A Chinese Trojan Horse?” Foreign Policy Association, September 6, 2013, http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2013/09/06/ethiopias-broadband-network-a-chinese-trojan-horse/.

[34] Daniel Berhane, “Ethiopia’s Web Filtering: Advanced Technology, Hypocritical Criticisms, Bleeding Constitution,” Daniel Berhane’s Blog, January 16, 2011,http://danielberhane.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/ethiopias-web-filtering-advanced-technology-hypocritical-criticisms-bleeding-constitution/.

[35] “Ethiopia Introduces Deep Packet Inspection,” Tor, May 31, 2012, https://blog.torproject.org/blog/ethiopia-introduces-deep-packet-inspection; Warwick Ashford, “Ethiopian Government Blocks Tor Network Online Anonymity,” Computer Weekly, June 28, 2012, http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240158237/Ethiopian-government-blocks-Tor-Network-online-anonymity.

[36] Test conducted by an anonymous researcher contracted by Freedom House.

[37] “Citizen Lab collaborates with Human Rights Watch on Internet censorship testing in Ethiopia,” Citizen Lab (blog), April 16, 2014, https://citizenlab.org/2014/04/citizen-lab-collaborates-human-rights-watch-internet-censorship-testing-ethiopia/. “Ethiopia 2013 Testing Results,” Citizen Lab (Google Drive document), accessed September 8, 2014,https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah0XQ-1lDRPYdE9JYzBPNWZudEdXMXl4VVk0TC1JNXc&gid=0.

[38] “Ethiopia ‘Blocks’ Al Jazeera Websites,” Al Jazeera, March 18, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/03/201331793613725182.html.

[39] Websites blocked were all reportedly accessible via proxy servers. See: “Twitter and Facebook Access Restored After 12-Hour Blackout,” OPride, July 19, 2013,http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3685-twitter-and-facebook-blocked-in-ethiopia.

[40] An old Amharic saying that demonstrates the country’s deep-rooted culture of fear —“Stay away from electricity and politics”—recently evolved to: “Stay away from Social Media.” The contemporary saying implies that giving one’s political opinions via social media could cause grave bodily injury similar to exposing oneself to electricity.

[41] Mohammed Ademo, Twitter post, July 25, 2012, 1:08 p.m., https://twitter.com/OPride/status/228159700489879552.

[43] Ory Okolloh Mwangi, Twitter post, November 6, 2013, 9:20 a.m., https://twitter.com/kenyanpundit/status/398077421926514688.

[44] Research conducted by Freedom House consultant.

[45] Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 57, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0314_ForUpload_0.pdf.

[46] Bogdan Popa, “Google Blocked in Ethiopia,” Softpedia, May 3, 2007, http://news.softpedia.com/news/Google-Blocked-In-Ethiopia-53799.shtml.

[47] Zone9 blog hosted at: http://zone9ethio.blogspot.com/.

[48] A 2014 report from Human Rights Watch also noted that the term “aljazeera” was unsearchable on Google while the news site was blocked from August 2012 to mid-March 2013. According to HRW research, the keywords “OLF” and “ONLF” (acronyms of Ethiopian opposition groups) are not searchable on the unencrypted version of Google (http://) and other popular search engines. Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 56, 58.

[49] Interview with individuals working in the telecom sector, as well as a test conducted by a Freedom House consultant who found it was not possible for an ordinary user to send out a bulk text message.

[50] Markos Lemma, “Disconnected Ethiopian Netizens,” Digital Development Debates(blog), http://www.digital-development-debates.org/issues/09-prejudice/african-innovation/disconnected-ethiopian-netizens/.

[51] “Ethiopia Trains Bloggers to attack its opposition,” ECADF Ethiopian News & Opinions, June 7, 2014, http://ecadforum.com/2014/06/07/ethiopia-trains-bloggers-to-attack-its-opposition.

[52] Selamawit, “Millions of Ethiopians share their dream for our country in the new year. What is your dream?” Sodere, September 6, 2013, http://sodere.com/profiles/blogs/millions-of-ethiopians-share-their-dream-for-their-country-in-the.

[53] Ndesanjo Macha, “Ethiopians: #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to Stop Immigration Crackdown,” Global Voices (blog,) November 13, 2013, http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/11/13/ethiopians-someonetellsaudiarabia-to-stop-immigration-crackdown/.

[54] “#BBCtrending: Jailed bloggers spark Ethiopia trend,” BBC Trending, April 30, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-27212472.

[55] Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (1995), articles 26 and 29, accessed August 24, 2010, http://www.ethiopar.net/.

[56] Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation No. 590/2008, Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 64, December 4, 2008.

[57] Article 19, “The Legal Framework for Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia,” accessed September 10, 2014, http://www.article19.org/data/files/pdfs/publications/ethiopia-legal-framework-for-foe.pdf.

[58] Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation No. 590/2008, Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 64, December 4, 2008.

[59] “A Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offence,” Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 61, September 4, 2012, http://www.abyssinialaw.com/uploads/761.pdf.

[60] The government first instituted the ban on VoIP in 2002 after it gained popularity as a less expensive means of communication and began draining revenue from the traditional telephone business belonging to the state-owned Ethio Telecom. In response to widespread criticisms, the government claimed that VoIP applications such as Skype would not be considered under the new law, though the proclamation’s language still enables the authorities to interpret it broadly at whim.

[61] Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency, “Telecommunication Proclamation No. 281/2002, Article 2(11) and 2(12),” July 2, 2002, accessed July 25, 2014,http://www.researchictafrica.net/countries/ethiopia/Telecommunications_(Amendment)_Proclamation_no_281:2002.pdf. As an amendment to article 24 of the Proclamation, the Sub-Article (3) specifically states, “The use or provision of voice communication or fax services through the internet are prohibited” (page 1782).

[62] A Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offence.

[63] Article 19, “Ethiopia: Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences.”

[64] “Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009,” Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 57, August 28, 2009.

[65] International Labour Organization, “The Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Proclamation No. 414/2004, Article 44,”http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/70993/75092/F1429731028/ETH70993.pdf.

[66] “The Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.”

[67] “Six Members of Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia,” Global Voices Advocacy, April 26, 2014, http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/04/26/six-members-of-blogging-collective-arrested-in-ethiopia/.

[68] Six members of Zone Nine, group of bloggers and activists are arrested” [in Amharic], Zone9 (blog), April 25, 2014, http://zone9ethio.blogspot.com/2014/04/9.html.

[69] “Nine Journalists and Bloggers Still Held Arbitrarily,” Reporters Without Borders, August 21, 2014, http://en.rsf.org/ethiopia-nine-journalists-and-bloggers-21-08-2014,46830.html.

[70] Such trumped-up charges were based on an online column Nega had published criticizing the government’s use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to silence political dissent and calling for greater political freedom in Ethiopia. Nega is also the 2011 recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Sarah Hoffman, “That Bravest and Most Admirable of Writers: PEN Salutes Eskinder Nega,” PEN American Center (blog), April 13, 2012, http://www.pen.org/blog/?p=11198. See also, Markos Lemma, “Ethiopia: Online Reactions to Prison Sentence for Dissident Blogger,” Global Voices, July 15, 2012, http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/07/15/ethiopia-online-reactions-to-prison-sentence-for-dissident-blogger/; Endalk, “Ethiopia: Freedom of Expression in Jeopardy,” Global Voices, February 3, 2012, http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2012/02/03/ethiopia-freedom-of-expression-in-jeopardy/.

[71] “Two Ethiopian journalists held for a week without charge,” CPJ (news alert), August 9, 2013, http://cpj.org/2013/08/two-ethiopian-journalists-held-for-a-week-without.php.

[72] Interview conducted by Freedom House consultant.

[73] Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 62, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0314_ForUpload_0.pdf.

[74] Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 67.

[75] Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 52.

[76]  Committee to Protect Journalists, “Ethiopian Blogger, Journalists Convicted of Terrorism,” January 19, 2012, http://cpj.org/2012/01/three-journalists-convicted-on-terrorism-charges-i.php.

[77] Yonas Abiye, “INSA to reign all-powering cyberspace,” The Reporter, November 9, 2013, http://www.thereporterethiopia.com/index.php/news-headlines/item/1217-insa-to-reign-all-powerful-over-cyberspace.

[78] “Informationa Network Security Agency (INSA) of Ethiopia is to be reestablished,” Dire Tube, November 5, 2013, http://www.diretube.com/articles/read-information-network-security-agency-insa-of-ethiopia-is-to-be-reestablished_3833.html#.UyDWIPldVz4.

[79] Fahmida Y. Rashid, “FinFisher ‘Lawful Interception’ Spyware Found in Ten Countries, Including the U.S.,” Security Week, August 8, 2012, http://www.securityweek.com/finfisher-lawful-interception-spyware-found-ten-countries-including-us.

[80] The document was seen by Freedom House consultant. Morgan Marquis-Boire et al., “You Only Click Twice: FinFisher’s Global Proliferation,” Citizen Lab (University of Toronto), March 13, 2013, https://citizenlab.org/2013/03/you-only-click-twice-finfishers-global-proliferation-2/.

[81] Marquis-Boire, “You Only Click Twice.”

[82] Liat Clark, “Ethiopian refugee ‘illegally’ spied on using British software,” Wired, February 17, 2014, http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/17/illegal-spying-ethiopian-refugee.

[83] “Privacy International seeking investigation into computer spying on refugee in UK,” Privacy International (press release), February 17, 2014, https://www.privacyinternational.org/press-releases/privacy-international-seeking-investigation-into-computer-spying-on-refugee-in-uk; Liat Clark, “Ethiopian refugee ‘illegally’ spied on using British software.”

[84] Joshua Kopstein, “Hackers Without Borders,” The New Yorker, March 10, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/03/hacked-by-ones-own-government.html.

[85] “American Sues Ethiopian Government for Spyware Infection,” Electronic Frontier Foundation (press release), February 18, 2014, https://www.eff.org/press/releases/american-sues-ethiopian-government-spyware-infection.

[86] “Kidane v. Ethiopia,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, last updated August 28, 2014, https://www.eff.org/cases/kidane-v-ethiopia.

[87] Bill Marczak et al., “Hacking Team and the Targeting of Ethiopian Journalists,” Citizen Lab, February 12, 2014, https://citizenlab.org/2014/02/hacking-team-targeting-ethiopian-journalists/.

[88] “Customer Policy,” Hacking Team, accessed February 13, 2014, http://hackingteam.it/index.php/customer-policy.

[89]  Declan McCullagh, “Meet the ‘Corporate Enemies of the Internet’ for 2013,” CNET, March 11, 2013, accessed February 13, 2014, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57573707-38/meet-the-corporate-enemies-of-the-internet-for-2013/.

[90] Craig Timberg, “Foreign regimes use spyware against journalists, even in U.S.,” Washington Post, February 12, 2014, http://wapo.st/McG3TZ.

[92] Human Rights Watch, “They Know Everything We Do,” March 2014, pg 67.

[93] “Timeline,” Zone9ers ‘Trial’ (blog), April 26, 2014, http://trialtrackerblog.org/press/.

[94] Anonymous Freedom House researcher reported seeing several of the detained Zone9 bloggers actively online in Gmail chat.

Ethiopia is one of 10 least connected in the digital world in mobile phone and internet use. #Africa November 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer, Africa, African Internet Censorship, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Facebook and Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Global Innovation Index, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa.
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OEthiopiadisconnected

 

Denmark, Korea And Sweden are the world’s most digitally connected countries while Ethiopia is one of 10 least connected

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November 26, 2014 (The Telegraph) — Denmark has been named the world’s “most connected” country based on mobile phone and internet use.

Scandinavia dominated this year’s rankings, with Sweden in third place, followed by Iceland in fourth, Norway sixth and Finland eighth. Britain came fifth.

They were compiled as part of a report by the International Telecommunication Union – theInformation and Communication Technology Development Index (IDI), which rates 166 countries according to their level of access to, use of and skills in using information and communication technology.

Hong Kong was the ninth most connected country, coming in ahead of Japan in 11th place, while Luxembourg completed the top 10.

Other countries in the top 30 included the US (which ranked 14th), Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, Germany, France, New Zealand, Estonia and Macau, as well the principalities of Andorra and Monaco.

The 10 least connected countries were all in Africa, with the Central African Republic being the worst, followed by Niger, Chad, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

All countries were shown to have improved their IDI values in the last year, while the nations with the “most dynamic” improvement in ranking included the United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Cape Verde, Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Georgia. Improvements were said to have been driven mostly by better wireless broadband connection.

Europe proved to be the most connected region, scooping up eight of the top 10 rankings, while Africa had the lowest regional ranking. The continent, however, did show a mobile broadband growth rate of more than 40 per cent in 2014 on last year.

Nearly three billion people globally will be using the internet by the end of this year, up by nearly 40 per cent on last year. But 450 million people still don’t live within reach of a mobile signal, while 4.3 billion people are not connected to the internet – with 90 per cent of those living in developing countries, the report said.

Earlier this year, Telegraph Travel’s technology expert Donald Strachan outlined the “world’s Wi-Fi-friendliest cities”, featuring various countries from the top 40 of this year’s IDI report.

Connecting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki is password-free and easy thanks to a network of hotspots in public buildings, civic squares and even on some buses and trams around the city.

Hong Kong, “one of the world’s most futuristic cities”, was said to be generous with free internet access in public areas. There are several free Wi-Fi networks, the key ones being GovWiFi (at parks, libraries, public buildings, ferry terminals and more) and MTR WiFi, which provides 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi per device up to five times every day at MTR stations.

Taipei offers 30 days of free access to a national, government-backed network of over 5,000 hotpsots. Hundreds of these free iTaiwan hotspots are available throughout the Taiwanese capital.

Macau was noted for its WiFiGo service which offers free internet for visitors every day between 8am and 1am. The network has around 150 hotspots, meaning there’s usually Wi-Fi close by, including at ports, museums and tourist information centres.

Other major cities with free public Wi-Fi access include New York, Paris and Perth, Australia, as well as Florence and Tel Aviv, which has eighty hotspots dotted around its centre.

Access to free Wi-Fi has been an increasingly important factor for travellers around the world, especially when booking a hotel. Britain’s hotels were found to be among the worst in Europe for free Wi-Fi access, while the two best performing cities were both Swedish – Malmö and Gothenburg, where 98 per cent and 96 per cent of hotels were found to offer free Wi-Fi, a survey by the travel search engine KAYAK earlier this year revealed.

A new website aiming to help travellers in the search for free and fast wireless internet access was introduced earlier this year.Hotewifitest.com lets hotel guests test the speed of their internet connection, and then stores the results for others to view. It also records whether the Wi-Fi is free or comes at a price.

Several airports around the world also offer free Wi-Fi services, with Dallas-Forth Worth in Texas being among the best, providing free Wi-Fi in all five of its terminals since 2012. Since upgrading its former paid network, the number of daily Wi-Fi connections has risen from 2,000 to 55,000. Helsinki Airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport, Seoul’s Incheon Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol complete the world’s top five for airport Wi-Fi quality.

Earlier this year, Britain’s biggest airports have been criticised for failing to provide passengers with unlimited Wi-Fi access.

None of Britain’s six busiest airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Edinburgh and Luton – offer unlimited free internet access, according to a study by Skyscanner, the flight comparison website.

Source: The Telegraph

http://www.traveller.com.au/denmark-korea-sweden-the-worlds-most-connected-country-11uwmr

 

 

 

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10 Best and Brightest YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think October 8, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in 10 best Youtube videos, 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer, Inspirational Oromo Women, Tweets and Africa, Uncategorized.
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10 YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think

http://time.com/3481914/inspiring-youtube-videos/

While you may think of YouTube as a place to check out the latest in funny animal videos, there’s a lot of content that caters to the brain rather than the funny bone.

We’ve found the best and brightest videos for you to enjoy when you need to stretch your mental muscles. These cover a variety of topics, but they’re all guaranteed to make you look at the world around you at least a little bit differently.

Dan Gilbert: Why Are We Happy? Why Aren’t We Happy?

Scientist Dan Gilbert has made some surprising discoveries about happiness. For example, lottery winners and paraplegics both have about the same level of happiness one year after the event that changed their lives. How is that possible?

Gilbert explains how our long-term happiness is not on based getting what we want, but how our brains react when we don’t get what we want. And he demonstrates this by way of Mick Jagger, Monet and amnesiacs. Confused? Watch this 22-minute video as he talks about exactly how this works based on his scientific studies into the matter.

Stephen Hawking: Questioning the Universe

One of the most brilliant scientists of our time not only discusses how the universe began and the probability of alien contact, but how that information determines how we should proceed in the future. Given mankind’s selfish and aggressive expansion, Stephen Hawking makes a case for space exploration so that we can continue to thrive on other habitable worlds.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

If you are pursuing creative endeavors, either professionally or personally, this talk by the author of best-seller of Eat, Pray, Love is for you. She questions the assumption we all have that creativity and suffering go hand-in-hand, and challenges creative people to look at their work and their life’s passion to create in a different, more positive light.

Colin Stokes: The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Movies

Father of two, Colin Stokes wonders aloud, “Why is there so much Force in the movies we have for our kids and so little Yellow Brick Road?” By that, he means films aimed at boys tend to teach them that violence is the answer and a woman is their prize (i.e. Star Wars.) And films aimed at girls tend to teach them to work together and make allies to overcome problems (i.e. The Wizard of Oz.)

The question he has: why aren’t there films focused on gaining allies and solving things diplomatically aimed at boys? Why aren’t there more films that teach young men not to objectify women and treat them as the reward they are entitled to? Most importantly, Colin talks about what we as parents can do about it.

Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating

Is there an algorithm for love? Statistician Amy Webb analyzed not only what she wanted out of a potential husband, but also what men she liked were looking for. Using this process, she altered her online dating profile and it caught the eye of the man she would end up marrying.

This is not just a story about how to find the ideal mate, but how to approach any passion in your life in a way that gets you what you want in a smart way designed for success.

Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Though the “Last Lecture” series at Carnegie Mellon University is themed around what the professors’ last lectures would be, for Randy Pausch, who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, this would literally be his last lecture. But don’t think this video is a downer because Pausch is dying: He’s in good humor, and you’re guaranteed to crack a smile while watching his inspirational talk about how to live life to its fullest.

Told through Pausch’s reminiscing, his lecture focuses on achieving one’s childhood dreams and, even better, how to help others achieve their dreams. At over an hour in length, it’s well worth your time.

Steve Jobs: Stanford Commencement Address

Several years before his death, the Apple CEO gave the commencement address to the graduates at Stanford University. In it, he talks about his own life: He dropped out of college after six months, unable to see the value in whiling away all of his parents’ savings. He didn’t know how at the time, but he hoped it would all work out — and if you know anything about the story of his life, it did.

His message of believing in yourself and following your own path is full of humor and insight. It isn’t to be missed and only clocks in at a little more than 15 minutes.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

We live in a world that doesn’t always cater to the needs of introverts—a personality type that accounts for a third to half of all people and tends to prefer quiet over loud, isolation over socialization. Cain, an introvert and the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, offers a thought-provoking argument that suggests introverts have as much to offer the world as their extroverted brethren.

One of the more popular TEDTalks, The Power of Introverts runs just under 20 minutes and may make you see a new side of yourself or those around you.

Eli Pariser: Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”

Don’t know what a filter bubble is? It’s a phenomenon unique to the Internet-era in which our interests and preferences tailor the kinds of content we see on search engines and social channels. And while it can be helpful in directing us to the information most relevant to us, in this nine-minute TEDTalk, Eli Pariser explains that it can also prevent us from seeing opposing viewpoints.

Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is well-known as a business leader who’s been outspoken on the subject of women in the workplace. So it’s no surprise that when she spoke at a TED Conference, she gave a 15-minute passionate argument for why we need more women leaders in the world. She also focuses on the messages we send women about working and the messages we send our daughters as well.

See more @ http://time.com/3481914/inspiring-youtube-videos/

 

Restricted #Africa: #Ethiopia and Sudan along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Cuba and Belarus are the most censored countries for Internet use September 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in African Internet Censorship, Facebook and Africa, Oromo Protests, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny.
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OAfrican Internet censorship: an infographic detailing the freest and most restricted African countries for Internet users.http://afrographique.tumblr.com/image/96527785004

 

 

 

Stop aid to Tyrants: It is time to a new development model April 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Finfinnee, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Land Grabs in Africa, Opportunity Cost, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Poverty, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Theory of Development, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
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“Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.”-  http://time.com/23075/william-easterly-stop-sending-aid-to-dictators/

Traditional foreign aid often props up tyrants more than it helps the poor. It’s time for a new model.

Too much of America’s foreign aid funds what I call authoritarian development. That’s when the international community–experts from the U.N. and other bodies–swoop into third-world countries and offer purely technical assistance to dictatorships like Uganda or Ethiopia on how to solve poverty.

Unfortunately, dictators’ sole motivation is to stay in power. So the development experts may get some roads built, but they are not maintained. Experts may sink boreholes for clean water, but the wells break down. Individuals do not have the political rights to protest disastrous public services, so they never improve. Meanwhile, dictators are left with cash and services to prop themselves up–while punishing their enemies.

But there is another model: free development, in which poor individuals, asserting their political and economic rights, motivate government and private actors to solve their problems or to give them the means to solve their own problems.

Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.
In the postwar period, countries such as Chile, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have successfully followed the path of free development–often in spite of international aid, not because of it. While foreign policy concerns have often led America to prop up dictatorial regimes, we need a new rule: no democracy, no aid. If we truly want to help the poor, we can’t accept the dictators’ false bargain: ignore our rights abuses, and meet the material needs of those we oppress. Instead, we must advocate that the poor have the same rights as the rich everywhere, so they can aid themselves.

Easterly is the co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute and author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.

Read  further at original source@
http://time.com/23075/william-easterly-stop-sending-aid-to-dictators/

 

As protestors from Kiev to Khartoum to Caracas take to the streets against autocracy, a new book from economist William Easterly reminds us that Western aid is too often on the wrong side of the battle for freedom and democracy.  In The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the PoorEasterly slams thedevelopment community for supporting autocrats, not democrats, in the name of helping the world’s poorest. Ignoring human rights abuses and giving aid to oppressive regimes, he maintains, harms those in need and in many ways “un-develops” countries.

The Tyranny of Experts takes on the notion that autocracies deliver stronger economic growth than freer societies.  Easterly argues that when economic growth occurs under autocratic regimes, it is more often achieved at the local level in spite of the regime’s efforts.  In some instances, growth under autocracies can be attributed to relative increases in freedoms.  He points to China as an example of this, attributing the country’s phenomenal growth to its adoption of greater personal and economic freedoms, especially compared to the crippling Maoist policies of the past.

Easterly also rejects the myth that dictators are dependable and that a certain level of oppression should be overlooked for the sake of economic growth and overall prosperity. Most recently, the violence and chaos following the 2011 Arab uprisings has made some nostalgic for the stable, if undemocratic, governments that kept civil unrest in check, allowing for a measure of economic development to take hold. Easterly stresses that instability and tumult in the wake of ousting a dictator is not the fault of an emerging democracy, but instead an understandable result of years of autocratic rule. The answer is not to continue to support autocrats in the name of stability, but rather to start the inevitably messy process of democratization sooner.

Easterly is of course not the first to call attention to the importance of prioritizing rights and freedoms in the development agenda. Scholars from Amartya Sen to more recently, Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont, have also advocated for a rights-based approach to development. In Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, my coauthors and I similarly found that economic growth and political freedom go hand-in-hand.

Still, the hard questions remain: how to help those without economic and political freedoms?  And when should donors walk away from desperately poor people because their government is undemocratic? Easterly argues that the donor community should draw the line with far more scrutiny than it does today – not just at the obvious cases, such as North Korea, but with other undemocratic countries, such as Ethiopia, where human rights abuses are rampant. He debunks the notion that aid can be “apolitical,” arguing that it is inherently political: giving resources to a government allows it to control and allocate (or withhold) resources as it sees fit. The aid community should focus on ways to help oppressed populations without helping their oppressors. For example, scholarship programs, trade, and other people-to-people exchanges can give opportunities to people in need. At the very least, Easterly argues, development actors should not praise oppressive regimes or congratulate them on economic growth they did not create.

Rather than being seduced by “benevolent dictators,” Easterly urges donors to focus their energy on “freedom loving” governments that need help. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a step in the right direction but, as Easterly pointed out during the CFR meeting, MCC’s approach is undermined by other U.S. aid agencies, such as USAID, that continue to assist countries even when they don’t meet certain good governance and human rights standards.

Easterly also emphasizes the need for aid organizations to be more transparent about where their money is going. Robert Zoellick made strides in this direction during his tenure as World Bank president. But more recent developments suggest that the Bank still has a way to go in becoming more open and accountable.  (Easterly noted that an initial invitation to speak about The Tyranny of Experts at the World Bank was later rescinded for “scheduling reasons.”) http://blogs.cfr.org/development-channel/2014/03/14/helping-the-oppressed-not-the-oppressors/#cid=soc-facebook-at-blogs-helping_the_oppressed_not_the_-031414

No democracy, no aid

 

 

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201403190105-0023568

 

 

March 26, 2014 (The Seattle Times) — SOMEHOW — probably my own fault — I have wound up on Bill Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists. Gates singled me out by name in his annual 2014 letter to his foundation as an “aid critic” spreading harmful myths about ineffective aid programs.

I actually admire Gates for his generosity and advocacy for the fight againstglobal poverty through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. We just disagree about how to end poverty throughout the world.

Gates believes poverty will end by identifying technical solutions. My research shows that the first step is not identifying technical solutions, but ensuring poor people’s rights.

Gates concentrates his foundation’s efforts on finding the right fixes to the problems of the world’s poor, such as bed nets to prevent malarial mosquito bites or drought-tolerant varieties of corn to prevent famine. Along with official aid donors, such as USAID and the World Bank, the foundation works together with local, generally autocratic, governments on these technical solutions.

Last year, Gates cited Ethiopia in a Wall Street Journal guest column as an example, a country where he described the donors and government as setting “clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach.”

This approach, Gates said, “helps us to deliver tools and services to everybody who will benefit.” Gates then gives credit for progress to the rulers. When the tragically high death rates of Ethiopian children fell from 2005 to 2010, Gates said this was “in large part thanks to” such a measurement-driven program by Ethiopia’s autocrat Meles Zenawi, who had ruled since 1991. Gates later said Meles’ death in August 2012 was “a great loss for Ethiopia.”

Do autocratic rulers like Meles really deserve the credit?

Gates’ technocratic approach to poverty, combining expert advice and cooperative local rulers, is a view that has appealed for decades to foundations and aid agencies. But if technical solutions to poverty are so straightforward, why had these rulers not already used them?

The technical solutions have been missing for so long in Ethiopia and other poor countries because autocrats are more motivated to stay in power than to fix the problems of poverty. Autocracy itself perpetuates poverty.

Meles violently suppressed demonstrations after rigged elections in 2005. He even manipulated donor-financed famine relief in 2010 to go only to his own ruling party’s supporters. The donors failed to investigate this abuse after its exposure by Human Rights Watch, continuing a long technocratic tradition of silence on poor people’s rights.

Rulers only reliably become benevolent when citizens can force them to be so — when citizens exert their democratic rights.

Our own history in the U.S. shows how we can protest bad government actions and reward good actions with our rights to protest and to vote. We won’t even let New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie get away with a traffic jam on a bridge.

Such democratic rights make technical fixes happen, and produce a far better long-run record onreducing poverty, disease and hunger than autocracies. We saw this first in the now-rich countries, which are often unfairly excluded from the evidence base.

Some developing countries such as Botswana had high economic growth through big increases in democratic rights after independence. Botswana’s democrats prevented famines during droughts, unlike the regular famines during droughts under Ethiopia’s autocrats.

Worldwide, the impressive number of developing countries that have shifted to democracy includes successes such as Brazil, Chile, Ghana, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as former Soviet Bloc countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia.

If the democratic view of development is correct, the lessons for Gates are clear: Don’t give undeserved credit and praise to autocrats. Don’t campaign for more official aid to autocrats. Redirect aid to democrats. If the democratic view is wrong, I do deserve to be on Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists.

http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/guest-the-flaw-in-bill-gates-approach-to-ending-global-poverty/

Related findings:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/04/09/357842/britain-funds-criminals-in-ethiopia/?fb_action_ids=621424617949652&fb_action_types=og.likes

 

The UK government is providing financial aid to human rights abusers in Ethiopia through funding training paramilitaries, who perpetrate summary killings, rape and torture in the impoverished African country, local media reported.

Through its foreign aid budget, the UK government provides financial support to an Ethiopian government security force known as the “special police” as part of its “peace and development programme”, which would cost up to £15 million in five years, The Guardian reported. 

The Department for International Development warned in a leaked document of the “reputational risks” of working with organizations that are “frequently cited in human rights violationallegations”, according to the report. 

The Ethiopian government’s counter-insurgency campaign in Ogaden, a troubled region largely populated by ethnic Somalis is being enforced by the 14,000-strong special police. 

This is while police forces are repeatedly accused by Human Rights Watch of serious human rights abuses. 

Claire Beston, the Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher, said it was highly concerning that Britain was planning to work with the paramilitary force.

 

Africa Rising: So What? March 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Nubia, Ogaden, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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This study critically discuses  the “Africa rising” story and the sub-narratives it carries, including the rise of the African woman, the rise of the African middle class and the power of innovation. The articles included inform that, in too many cases, it is not the wider population but small segments and interested parties, such as the local political elite and foreign investors, who are benefiting from economic growth and resource wealth. Social cohesion, political freedom and environmental protection carry little importance in the comforting world of impressive growth statistics. The glamorous images of Africa’s prominent women and rising middle class produced and re-produced in the media prevent the less attractive and more complex stories about ordinary people’s daily struggles from being heard.

GDP tells us nothing about health of an economy, let alone its sustainability and the overall impact on GDP is simply a measure of market consumption, which has been improperly adopted to assess economic performance. Rebuilding Libya after the civil war has been a blessing for its GDP. But does that mean that Libya is on an enviable growth path? When there is only one brick left in a country devastated by war or other disasters, then just making another brick means doubling the economy (100 percent growth). Another problem is the reliability of GDP statistics in Africa.  Economic growth figures for most  African countries are incomplete, thus undermining any generalisation about overall economic performance in the continent. Besides statistical problems, there are important structural reasons why one should be suspicious of  the ‘Africa rising’ mantra. Most fast- growing Africa economies are heavily dependent on exports of commodities.

Read the full articles @:

http://ke.boell.org/sites/default/files/perspectives_feb_2014_web1.pdf

 

 

“About 30% of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual GDP has been moved to secretive tax havens.”

http://www.fairobserver.com/article/africa-illicit-outflow-84931

 

 

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

Ethiopia’s government is using imported technology to spy on the phones and computers of Citizens March 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Oromia, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Self determination, Sidama, Slavery, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) in it recent research report exposes that Ethiopia has built up a large monitoring system for controlling citizens’ network and phone usage.  According to this report the government has a  sole monopoly of  telecommunications and network. And  there is no right constraints that prevent the government from gaining an overview of who have contact with anyone on the phone, sms and internet. The government also saves phone calls on a large scale.  The  authoritarian regime is using imported technology to spy on the phones and computers of its perceived opponents. HRW accuses the government of trying to silence dissent, using software and kit sold by European and Chinese firms. The report says the firms may be guilty of colluding in oppression.

“While monitoring of communications can legitimately be used to combat criminal activity, corruption, and terrorism, in Ethiopia there is little in the way of guidelines or directives on surveillance of communications or use of collected information to ensure such practices are not illegal. In different parts of the world, the rapid growth of information and communications technology has provided new opportunities for individuals to communicate in a manner and at a pace like never before, increasing the space for political discourse and facilitating access to information. However, many Ethiopians have not been able to enjoy these opportunities. Instead, information and

communications technology is being used as yet another method through which the government seeks to exercise complete control over the population, stifling the rights to freedom of expression and association, eroding privacy, and limiting access to information—all of which limit opportunities for expressing contrary opinions and engaging in meaningful debate.”

“Human Rights Watch interviews suggest that a significant number of Oromo individuals have been targeted for unlawful surveillance. Those arrested are invariably accused of being members or supporters of the OLF. In some cases, security officials may have a reasonable suspicion of these  individuals being involved with OLF. But in the majority of cases, Oromos were under surveillance because they were organizing cultural associations or trade unions, were involved in celebrating Oromo culture (through music, art, etc.) or were involved in registered political parties.

“Like the OLF, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) was initially a political party, but began a low-level armed insurgency in Ethiopia’s Somali region in response to what it perceived to be the EPRDF’s failure to respect regional autonomy, and to consider demands for self-determination. In 2007, the ONLF scaled up armed attacks against government targets and oil exploration sites, triggering a harsh crackdown by the government. As with the government’s counterinsurgency response to the OLF, the Ethiopian security forces have routinely committed abuses against individuals of Somali ethnicity, including arbitrary detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings,
based on their ethnicity or perceived support for the ONLF.”

“Internet usage in Ethiopia is still in its infancy with less than 1.5 percent of Ethiopians connected to the Internet and fewer than 27,000 broadband subscribers countrywide. By contrast, neighboring Kenya has close to 40 percent access.The majority of Internet users are located in Addis Ababa. According to the ITU, Ethiopia has some of the most expensive broadband in the world. Given these costs, Ethiopians usually access the Internet through the growing number of cybercafés or from their mobile phones.Internet has been available to mobile phone subscribers since 2009.Increasingly available in many of the more expensive hotels and cafes. Connectivity speeds countrywide are quite low, and are prone to frequent outages.”

“State-owned Ethio Telecom is the only telecommunications service provider in Ethiopia. It controls access to the phone network and to the Internet and all phone and Internet traffic must use Ethio Telecom infrastructure. There is no other service provider available in Ethiopia. Ethio Telecom therefore controls access to the Internet backbone that connects Ethiopia to the international Internet. In addition, Internet cafés must apply for a license and purchase service from Ethio Telecom to operate.”

“As Internet access increases, some governments are adopting or compelling use of technologies like “deep packet inspection” (DPI). Deep packet inspection enables the examination of the content of communications (an email or a website) as it is transmitted over an Internet network. Once examined, the communications can be then copied, analyzed, blocked, or even altered. DPI equipment allows Internet service providers—and by extension, governments—to monitor and analyze Internet communications of potentially millions of users in real time. While DPI does have some commercial applications, DPI is also a powerful tool for Internet filtering and blocking and can enable highly intrusive surveillance. Finally, some governments have begun using intrusion software to infiltrate an individual’s computer or mobile phone. Also known as spyware or malware, such software can allow a government to capture passwords (and other text typed into the device), copy or delete files, and even turn on the microphone or camera of the device to eavesdrop. Such software is often unwittingly downloaded when an individual opens a malicious link or file disguised as a legitimate item of interest to the target.”

“The vast majority of the cases documented by Human Rights Watch involving access to phone recordings involved Oromo defendants organizing Oromos in cultural associations, student associations, and trade unions. No credible evidence was presented that would appear to justify their arrest and detention or the accessing of their private phone records. These interrogations took place not only in Addis Ababa, but in numerous police stations and detention centers throughout Oromia and elsewhere in Ethiopia. As described in other publications, the government has gone to great lengths to prevent Oromos and other ethnicities from organizing groups and associations. While the increasing usefulness of the mobile phone to mobilize large groups of people quickly provides opportunities for young people, in particular, to form their own networks, Ethiopia’s monopoly and control over this technology provides Ethiopia with another tool to suppress the formation of these organizations and restrict freedoms of association and peaceful assembly.”

“Ethiopia was the first sub-Saharan African country to begin blocking Internet sites. The first reports of blocked websites appeared in May 2006 when opposition blogs were unavailable, and blocking has become more regular and pervasive ever since. Human Rights Watch and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab conducted testing in-country in July and August of 2013 to assess the availability of 171 different URLs that had a higher likelihood of being blocked, based on past testing, on the Ethio Telecom network. A total of 19 tests were run over seven days to ensure reliability of results.”

Read further @

“They Know Everything We Do”

Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/03/25/they-know-everything-we-do-0

http://thefrontierpost.com/article/84793/Ethiopia-uses-foreign-kit-to-spy-on-opponents-HRW/

 

 

 

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Africa’s youth and the self-seeking repressive elites March 15, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Finfinnee, Food Production, Human Rights, International Economics, International Trade, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Opportunity Cost, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Media Network, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Poverty, Saudi Arabia, Self determination, Slavery, South Sudan, Specialization, State of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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Oijoolleeoromo

Africa’s youth will protest to remove self-seeking and repressive elites

 

“Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone. ….Short-term greed is, once again, depriving the African populations of the right to share in the continent’s immense riches. No-one can predict the future, but what can be said with certainty is that the possibility of a sustainable long-term and fair development that is currently at hand in Africa is being put at risk. The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest. In the near future, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their mobile phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise and act together to remove self-seeking and repressive elites. But the situation is not hopeless, on the contrary. Civil society is growing stronger in many places in Africa. The internet makes it possible for people to access and disseminate information in an unprecedented way. However, I get really disappointed when I hear all the ingenuous talk about the possibilities to invest and make quick profits in the ‘New Africa’. What is in reality new in the ‘New Africa’? Today, a worker in a Chinese-owned factory in Ethiopia earns one-tenth of the wage of an employee in China. Unless African governments and investors act more responsibly and ensure long-term sustainable construction for people and the environment ‒ which is currently not the case ‒ we must all ask ourselves if we should not use the consumer power we all possess to exert pressure. There are no excuses for letting African populations and their environment once again pay for the global demand for its raw materials and cheap consumer goods.”  – Marika Griehsel, journalist, film-maker and lecturer

“Thousands of people are demonstrating on the streets to protest against low salaries, the highcost of living and an insufficient state safety net. A reaction to austerity measures in Greece? Or a follow-up to the Arab Spring? No, these are protests for greater equality in Sub-Saharan Africa, most recently in Burkina Faso. The widening gap between rich and poor is as troubling in Africa as in the rest of the world. In fact, many Africans believe that inequalities are becoming more marked: A tiny minority is getting richer while the lines of poor people grow out the door. The contrast is all the more striking in Africa since the poverty level has been at a consistently high level for decades, despite the continent’s significant average GDP growth. Some take a plane to get treated for hay fever, while others are pushing up daisies because they can’t afford basic malaria treatment.”

– Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/11/reducing-the-gap-between-africas-rich-and-poor/

 

 

It is now evident that the African ‘lion economies’ have hardly even begun the economic and democratic transformation that is absolutely necessary for the future of the continent.

The largest movement ever in Africa of people from rural to urban areas is now taking place. Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, are among the world’s fastest growing cities.

The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest.

Soon, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise to remove self-seeking and repressive elites.

This piece was written in Namibia, where I was leading a tour around one of Africa’s more stable nations. There are several signs confirming the World Bank’s reclassification of Namibia as a middle-income country, which in turn means that many aid donors, including Sweden, have ended their bilateral cooperation.

I see newly constructed, subsidised single-family homes accessible for low-income families. I drive on good roads and meet many tourists, although this is off-season. I hear about a growing mining sector, new discoveries of natural gas and oil deposits. I read about irregularities committed by people in power, in a reasonably free press whose editors are not thrown into jail. There is free primary level schooling and almost free health care.

Most people I talk to are optimistic. A better future for a majority of Namibians is being envisaged. This is in all probability the result of the country having a small population ‒ just above 2 million ‒ and a functioning infrastructure despite its large area.

In Namibia, economic growth can hopefully be matched by implementing policies for long-term, sustainable social and economic development that will benefit more than the élite.

But Namibia is an exception. Because it is now evident that the African ‘lion economies’ have hardly even begun the economic and democratic transformation that is absolutely necessary for the future of the continent.

Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, predicts continued high growth rates across Africa with an average of over 6 per cent in 2014. That is of course good news for the continent. Perhaps the best, from a macroeconomic viewpoint, since the 1960s, when many of the former colonies became independent. This growth is mainly driven by the raw material needs of China, India and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the largest movement ever in Africa of people from rural to urban areas is now taking place. Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, are among the world’s fastest growing cities. But, in contrast with China, where the migrants from the rural areas get employment in the manufacturing industry, the urban migrants in Africa end up in the growing slums of the big cities.

In a few places, notably in Ethiopia, manufacturing is beginning to take off. But the wages in the Chinese-owned factories are even lower than in China, while the corporations pay minimal taxes to the Ethiopian state.

Short-term greed is, once again, depriving the African populations of the right to share in the continent’s immense riches. No-one can predict the future, but what can be said with certainty is that the possibility of a sustainable long-term and fair development that is currently at hand in Africa is being put at risk.

The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest. In the near future, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their mobile phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise and act together to remove self-seeking and repressive elites.

But the situation is not hopeless, on the contrary. Civil society is growing stronger in many places in Africa. The internet makes it possible for people to access and disseminate information in an unprecedented way. However, I get really disappointed when I hear all the ingenuous talk about the possibilities to invest and make quick profits in the ‘New Africa’.

What is in reality new in the ‘New Africa’?

Today, a worker in a Chinese-owned factory in Ethiopia earns one-tenth of the wage of an employee in China. Unless African governments and investors act more responsibly and ensure long-term sustainable construction for people and the environment ‒ which is currently not the case ‒ we must all ask ourselves if we should not use the consumer power we all possess to exert pressure.

There are no excuses for letting African populations and their environment once again pay for the global demand for its raw materials and cheap consumer goods.
Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone.

http://naiforum.org/2014/03/africas-youth-will-protest/

The World Bank paints an optimistic picture of African potential, but warns against persistently high inequalities:

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains strong with growth forecasted to be 4.9% in 2013. Almost a third of countries in the region are growing at 6% and more, and African countries are now routinely among the fastest-growing countries in the world […] [however the report] notes that poverty and inequality remain “unacceptably high and the pace of reduction unacceptably slow.” Almost one out of every two Africans lives in extreme poverty today.

Revenue inequality in African towns via French documentation - Public domainhttp://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/11/reducing-the-gap-between-africas-rich-and-poor/

Africa: Legacy of Pre-colonial Empires and Colonialism March 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Afaan Publication, Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dhaqaba Ebba, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, Hadiya, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Haile Fida, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Language and Development, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Sport, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Poverty, Self determination, Sidama, Sirna Gadaa, South Sudan, Specialization, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Our knowledge of the nature of identity relations in pre-colonial Africa is less than complete. However, there is little doubt that many parts of the continent were torn apart by various wars, during that era. Many of the pre-colonial wars revolved around state formation, empire building, slave raids, and control over resources and trade routs. The slave raiding and looting empires and kingdoms, including those of the 19th century, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss in detail the nature of pre-colonial empires in Africa. The examples of the Abyssinian Empire and the Mahdiyya state in Sudan provide a glimpse of the impacts of pre-colonial empires on the prevailing problems in inter-identity relations. The Abyssinian Empire, for example, is credited for creating the modern Ethiopian state during the second half of the 19th century and defending it from European colonialism. However, it also left behind a deeply divided country where the populations in the newly incorporated southern parts of the country were ravaged by slave raids and lootings and, in many cases, reduced into landless tenants, who tilled the land for northern landlords (Pankhurst, 1968). The Empire also established a hierarchy of cultures where the non-Abyssinian cultures in the newly incorporated territories were placed in a subordinate position. There are claims, for instance, that it was not permissible to publish, preach, teach or broadcast in Oromiya [Afaan Oromo] (language of the Oromo people) in Ethiopia until the end of the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie (Baxter, 1978, 228). It requires a great deal of sensitivity to teach Ethiopian history in the country’s schools, since the empire-builders of the 19th century are heroes to some identities while they are viewed as villains who brought destruction and oppression by others. Similarly, Sudan’s Mahdiyya state, which professed Arab identity and was supported by slave raiding communities, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations, which still plague the country (Francis Deng, 2010).’ pp 10-12

Diversity Management in Africa: Findings from the African Peer Review Mechanism
and a Framework for Analysis and Policy-Making , 2011.

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

Related articles:

No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the cruelty of the TPLF/EPRDF regime.
A country is not about its leaders but of its people. It goes without saying that the people are the symbolic mirror of their nation. That is exactly why foreigners particularly the development partners assess and evaluate a nation through its people. In other words, a happy people are citizen of not only a peaceful and happy nation but one which accepts the principles of democracy, rule of law and human and people’s right. On the contrast, heartbroken, timid and unhappy people are subjects of dictatorial, callous and brutal regimes. Such people are robbed of their humanity and identity through systematic harassment, intimidation, unlawful detention, extra judicial killing and disappearances by the leaders who transformed themselves into creators of human life or lords. The largest oromo nation in Ethiopia through the 22years of TPLF/EPRDF repressive leadership has turned into a nation sobbing in the dark. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. All it takes is a closer look at any Oromos in the face. The story is the same on all the faces: fear, uncertainty, and an unquenchable thirst for freedom. The disturbing melody of the sobs in the dark echo the rhythmic desire to break free from TPLF dictatorial shackles.
The Horn African region of the Ethiopia is home to just 90 million people, it is also home to one of the world’s most ruthless, and eccentric, tyrannical regime .TPLF/EPRDF is ruling the nation particularly the Oromos with an iron fist for the past two decades and yet moving on. Today dissents in Oromia are frequently harassed, arrested, tortured, murdered and put through sham trials, while the people are kept in a constant state of terror through tight media control, as repeatedly reported by several human rights groups. It has been long time since the Woyane government bans most foreign journalists and human rights organizations and NGOs from operating in the country for the aim of hiding its brutal governance from the world. While the people in Ethiopia are being in terrorized by TPLF gangs, the western powers are yet looking at the country as a very strategic place to fight the so called terrorism in horn African region. But In today’s Ethiopia; as an Oromo, No one can speak out against the dictatorship in that country. You can be killed. You can be arrested. You can be kept in prison for a long time. Or you can disappear in thin air. Nobody will help. Intimidations, looting Oromo resources and evicting Oromos from their farm lands have become the order of the day everywhere across Oromia.
No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the killing machinery of the TPLF securities. The recent murdering of Tesfahun Chemeda in kallitti prison is a case book of the current Circumstance.
The So called EPRDF constitution, as all Ethiopian constitutions had always been under the previous Ethiopian regimes, is prepared not to give legal protections to the Oromo people, but to be used against the Oromo people. Prisons in the Ethiopia have become the last home to Oromo nationalists, human right activists or political opponent of the regime. Yet the international community is either not interested or have ignored the numerous Human Right abuses in Ethiopia simply because, they think there is stability in the country. Is there no stability in North Korea? I don’t understand why the international community playing double standard with dining and wining with Ethiopian brutal dictators while trying to internationally isolate other dictators. For crying out loud, all dictators are dangerous to humanity and shaking their hands is even taboo much more doing business with them.
Without the support of the USA and EU, major pillars of the regime would have collapsed. Because one reason why TPLF is sustaining in power is through the budgetary support and development funding of the EU, the United States and offered diplomatic validation by the corrupted African Union. Foremost, the US and EU as the largest partners are responsible for funding the regime’s sustainability and its senseless brutality against ordinary citizens. They would have the capacity to disrupt the economic might of this regime without negatively impacting ordinary citizens, and their failure to do so is directly responsible for the loss of many innocent lives, the torture of many and other grievous human rights abuses. Helping dictators while they butcher our people is what I cannot understand. What I want to notify here is, on the way of struggling for freedom it is very essential to call on the western powers to stop the support they are rendering to dictators in the name of fighting the so called terrorism in Horn Africa, otherwise it will remain an obstacle for the struggle.
Holding elections alone does not make a country democratic. Where there is no an independent media, an independent judiciary (for the rule of law), an independent central bank, an independent electoral commission (for a free and fair vote); neutral and professional security forces; and an autonomous (not a rubber stamp) parliament, no one should expect that the pseudo election will remove TPLF from power. The so-called “Ethiopian constitution” is a façade that is not worth the paper which it is written on. It does not impose the rule of law; and does not effectively limit governmental power. No form of dissent is tolerated in the country.
As my understanding and as we have observed for more than two decades, it is unthinkable to remove TPLF regime without a military struggle or without popular Uprisings. They are staying, staying, and staying in power – 10, 20, 22 and may be 30 or 40 years. They have developed the mentality of staying on power as their own family and ethnic property. So that they are grooming their clans, their wives, sons, cats, dogs and even goats to succeed them. They are simply the worst mafia regime and the most politically intolerant in the Africa. It is impossible to remove them electorally because we have been witnessing that the electoral system is fundamentally flawed and indomitably skewed in favor them. Every gesture and every words coming from TPLF gangs in the last several years have confirmed that to remove them by election is nothing but like to dream in daylight.
The late dictator “Meles Zenawi” had once said that TPLF “shall rule for a thousand years”, asserting that elections SHALL NOT remove his government. He also said: “the group who want the power must go the forest and fight to achieve power”. Therefore, taking part in Pseudo election will have no impact on reducing the pain of the oppressed people. Evidently, the opposition and civil societies have been rendered severely impotent, as any form of dissent attracts the ultimate penalty in Ethiopia. Furthermore, we are watching that this regime is intensifying its repression of democracy each day, and ruling strictly through the instrument of paralyzing fear and the practice of brutality against ordinary citizens.
As we are learning from history, Dictators are not in a business of allowing election that could remove them from their thrones. The only way to remove this TPLF dictatorship is through a military force, popular uprising, or a rebel insurgency: Egypt (2011), Ivory Coast (2011), Tunisia (2011), Libya (2011), Rwanda (1994), Somalia (1991), Liberia (1999), etc. A high time to fire up resistance to the TPLF killings and resource plundering in Oromia, is now. To overthrow this brutal TPLF dictatorship and to end the 22 years of our pain, it is a must to begin the resistance with a nationwide show of defiance including distributing postures of resistance against their brutality across Oromia and the country. Once a national campaign of defiance begins, it will be easy to see how the TPLF regime will crumble like a sand castle. Besides, we the Oromo Diaspora need to work on strengthening the struggle by any means we can. It is the responsibility of the Diaspora to advance the Oromo cause, and at the same time to determine how our efforts can be aided by the international community. As well, it is a time for every freedom thirsty Oromo to take part in supporting our organization Oromo liberation Front by any means we can.
These days, TPLF regime is standing on one foot and removing it is easier than it appears. Let all oppressed nations organize for the final push to liberty. The biggest fear of Woyane regime is people being organized and armed with weapons of unity, knowledge, courage, vigilance, and justice. What is needed is a unified, dedicated struggle for justice and sincerity. Oromo’s are tired of the dying, the arrests, the detentions, the torture, the brutality and the forced disappearances. This should come to an end! DEATH FOR TPLF LEADERES ,.long live FOR OROMIYA
_____________________________________
The author, ROBA PAWELOS, can be reached by bora1273@yahoo.com
http://oromiatimes.org/2014/03/13/no-oromo-has-constitutional-or-legal-protection-from-the-cruelty-of-the-tplfeprdf-regime-roba-pawelos/
‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”. Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.
If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.
Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.’…………………………………………………

A number of African governments accused of human rights abuses have turned to public relations companies to salvage the image of their countries.

The BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine asked two experts whether “reputation management” is mostly a cover-up for bad governance.

NO: Thor Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Thor Halvorssen has published extensively on the subject of lobbying
For Public Relations (PR) companies and their government clients, “reputation management” can be a euphemism of the worst sort. In many cases across Africa, it often means whitewashing the human rights violations of despotic regimes with fluff journalism and, just as easily, serving as personal PR agents for rulers and their corrupt family members.

But they also help governments drown out criticism, often branding dissidents, democratic opponents and critics as criminals, terrorists or extremists.

Today, with the preponderance of social media, anyone with an opinion, a smart phone and a Facebook account can present their views to an audience potentially as large as any major political campaign can attract.

This has raised citizen journalism to a level of influence unknown previously. Yet, this communication revolution has also resulted in despotic governments smearing not just human rights advocates, but individuals with blogs as well as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts. This undermines the power and integrity of social media.

And as PR firms help regimes “astroturf” with fake social media accounts, they do more damage than just muddling legitimate criticism with false comments and tweets linking back to positive content – they also make the general public sceptical about social media.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations. But PR professionals who spin for them should be exposed as amoral.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations”

For instance, Qorvis Communications, a PR and lobbying firm in the United States, represents Equatorial Guinea – among other allegedly repressive governments – for a reported $55,000 a month. The firm is said to have amassed more than $100 million by helping their clients with “reputation management”.

By burying opposing public opinions or spinning false, positive stories of stability and economic growth on behalf of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s brutal regime, the firm is seriously hampering the progress of human rights in the country.

In response, Qorvis says that customers with troublesome human rights records are a very small part of its client base, and that these governments are using Qorvis as a means to be heard in the “court of public opinion”.

Washington Media Group, another American PR firm, was hired in 2010 by the Tunisian government. The autocracy was subsequently described in various media outlets as a “stable democracy” and a “peaceful, Islamic country with a terrific story to share with the world”. Only after the regime’s snipers began picking off protesters did Washington Media Group end its $420,000 contract.

‘Limited engagement’
When a PR firm spins a dictator’s story, it does not just present a different viewpoint, as the firm might want you to believe; rather, it undermines the resources from which people can draw opinions. If a website or magazine commends the government, how is an average citizen to know for certain if the information is accurate or true?

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Teodoro Obiang Nguema is accused of leading a brutal regime in Equatorial Guinea
Many firms that operate, or have done, on behalf of kleptocracies in Africa are based not only in the US but also in the United Kingdom. They include Bell Pottinger (Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt), Brown Lloyd James (Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya) and Hill & Knowlton (Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda).

There are likely many more that continue to do this work under the cover of corporate secrecy. When firms get caught or criticised for their activities many say it is “limited engagement” for only a few months or that the task only involved “tourism” or “economic progress”.

If, for instance, a firm served the questionable government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo they would probably insist they are “consultants” helping to create “economic opportunity” and, no doubt, providing a “guiding hand” to the current president as he improves the lot of the Congolese poor.

Yet the spin doctors most probably ignore the fact that President Joseph Kabila’s security forces killed Floribert Chebeya, arguably the DR Congo’s leading human rights defender, and likely “disappeared” his driver (he is still missing). Only after an international uproar were the policemen directly responsible for the killing brought to justice.

Meanwhile, political opponents routinely disappear, journalists are arrested for criticising the government and any comprehensive human rights report contains appalling anecdotes and painful analysis about a country with little judicial independence and respect for the rule of law.

PR agents do not create “economic opportunities” – they alter reality so that certain deals and foreign aid can flow faster and in larger quantities – all the while being rewarded handsomely.

‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”.

Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.

If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.

Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15109351

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights March 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, Development, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Nubia, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Self determination, Sidama, Slavery, State of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: What is it? Who uses it? Why was it created?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere.(http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml)

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

http://oneworldrights.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/udhr-article-2/

Tweets Ranking Africa: Who tweets most? Who is not? March 12, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Accra, Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Development, Facebook and Africa, Human Rights, Nairobi, Nelson Mandela, Oromo, South Africa, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oromo Library, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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???????????iol scitech dec 11 twitterEmbedded image permalink
Africa’s largest and second-largest economies, South Africa and Egypt, are Africa’s two most active Twitter countries. Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg and Nairobi  are the tweets capitals of Africa. With 344,215 geo-located tweets, Johannesburg is the most active city in Africa. 

According to the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) latest report on  information and communications technology in Ethiopia, the country  is among the least developed and most expensive in the world. The report placed Ethiopia 151st in ICT development, out of 157 countries, and 152nd out 169 countries in the price of fixed broadband connection. After a decade, in 2012, the internet penetration rate in Ethiopia was a mere 1.1 percent, or 960,331 users and out of this 902,440 are Facebook users. Neighboring Kenya, however, reached a 41 percent penetration rate, with 16.2 million users.   As part of its active engagement in curtailing free media, the Ethiopian state  is known  in making citizen’s  use of  micro social networkings  illegal  and blocks internet connections and sites to public.

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In a follow up to its 2012 study, the London- and Nairobi-based public relations and strategic communications agency Portland analysed geo-located tweets originating from Africa during the final three months of 2013. The second How Africa Tweets study dives deeper into Twitter use on the continent, looking at which cities are the most active, what languages are being used the most and what issues are driving the conversation online.

How Africa Tweets found that, during the final three months of 2013:

Johannesburg is the most active city in Africa, with 344,215 geo-located tweets, followed by Ekurhuleni (264,172) and Cairo (227,509). Durban (163,019) and Alexandria (159,534) make up the remainder of the top five most active cities
Nairobi is the most active city in East Africa and the sixth most active on the continent, with 123,078 geo-located tweets
Accra is the most active city in West Africa and the eight most active on the continent, with 78,575 geo-located tweets
English, French and Arabic are the most common languages on Twitter in Africa, accounting for 75.5% of the total tweets analysed. Zulu, Swahili, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Portuguese are the next most commonly tweeted languages in Africa
Tuesdays and Fridays are the most active tweeting days. Twitter activity rises steadily through the afternoon and evening, with peak volumes around 9pm
The day of Nelson Mandela’s death – 5 December – saw the highest volume of geo-located tweets in Africa
Brands in Africa are becoming increasingly prevalent on Twitter.
Portland tracked major hashtag activity from top brands such as Samsung (#SamsungLove), Adidas (#Adidas) and Magnum ice cream (#MagnumAuction)

Football is the most-discussed topic on Twitter in Africa. Football was discussed more than any other topic, including the death of Nelson Mandela. The most mentioned football team was Johannesburg’s Orlando Pirates (#BlackisBack, #PrayForOrlandoPirates, #OperationFillOrlandoStadium)
Politically-related hashtags were less common than those around other issues, with only four particularly active political hashtags tracked during the time period. This included #KenyaAt50 – celebration of Kenya’s independence – and the competing #SickAt50
Allan Kamau, Head of Portland Nairobi, says: “The African Twittersphere is changing rapidly and transforming the way that Africa communicates with itself and the rest of the world. Our latest research reveals a significantly more sophisticated landscape than we saw just two years ago. This is opening up new opportunities and challenges for companies, campaigning organisations and governments across Africa.”

Mark Flanagan, Head of Digital for Portland, says: “As well as adding diversity of perspective on political and social issues, Africa’s Twitter users are also contributing linguistic diversity. Twitter is now established on the continent as a source of information and a platform for conversation.”http://allafrica.com/stories/201403120080.html

http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/technology/internet/which-african-city-sends-most-tweets-1.1659947#.UyDKotJdXeJ

http://allafrica.com/stories/201312230211.html?viewall=1

 

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.