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Living with censorship

Andrew Heavens on Censorship in Ethiopia

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Living with censorship

  1. 1. Living with censorship Andrew Heavens [email_address] Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 Budapest
  2. 5. SMS blocked May 2005 <ul><li>&quot;Vote bee. If you vote bee / You will eat honey / If you vote for the two fingers / You will loose the three others.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;If you love your country, for so many reasons you already know, vote for KINIGIT! Please send this for 5 others.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Ehadegin miretu, ehagegin bitimertu, hiwotachihu kalefew 14 amet yebelete be hiv, besira atiet ina, bechigir yetemola endihone enadergalen.&quot; (Vote EPRDF, if you vote for EPRDF, we will fill your life with more HIV and poverty than you have seen in the past 14 years.) </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Show your response towards Alamoudi’s support to Woyane by not drinking any of the Pepsi products. Pass this message to five country-loving Ethiopians.&quot; </li></ul>
  3. 6. Elections June 2005
  4. 7. Blogs blocked May 2006
  5. 8. Blogs take a hit July 2006 <ul><li>“ Five of the 32 Ethiopian blogs tracked by GlobalVoices have stopped blogging altogether since their websites were first obstructed in mid-May. Blogging on other sites has slowed (with the notable exception of Ethiopia's diaspora writers in the USA). Worst of all, the regular flow of new blogs that was seen through the early months of 2006 has stalled.” </li></ul><ul><li>GV 03/07/06 </li></ul>
  6. 9. <ul><li>“ When Blogging on Ethiopia started on the blogosphere, I said &quot;hmmmm this is my thing....Blogging made me to be more creative in learning html codes from scratch...The blockage still makes me angry and thinks of how the Globe is not equivalent to all the people in earth.” </li></ul>
  7. 10. <ul><li>“ ...what happens if they arrest our parents? My pops would certainly not make it at the Sendafa detention center. That I know. </li></ul><ul><li>I concede the mere thought of that reality forces a mental pause. But my tired and struggling soul, grappling to get a hold of my too evasive Coptic faith finds answers in the words of Psalm 23: &quot;Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>We blog for one simple reason: to see representative government in Ethiopia—whatever it looks like. And to see kindness in government. Our people deserve it. Really, we blog for peace. And you can't stop that EPRDF. You can't, and here we come.” </li></ul>
  8. 11. Anon blogger <ul><li>Q: Did the blockage make you think twice about blogging? </li></ul><ul><li>A: It made me think 5 times, actually. Although the focus of my blog was never Eth. politics, I thought if Meles, Inc. felt threated by bloggers, then they might use even a harmless blogger like me as a scapegoat. </li></ul>
  9. 12. Anon blogger <ul><li>“ The blockage of certain websites deemed too critical of the government or too divisive has been continuing with notable impacts. Several of the websites have slowed or died down. For instance, the infamous Ethio Zagol blog ( has not seen a post since February 18, 2008).” </li></ul>
  10. 13. <ul><li>“ After the anger of the blockade wore off folks started drifting away from blogging it seems. In some ways it was a fad and in other ways Ethiopians never took to blogging the way others did. I can't say why. For me, blogging after four years has become a chore at times but I stick with it out of sheer stubborn character and dull flashes of anger.” </li></ul>
  11. 15. The end Andrew Heavens [email_address] Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 Budapest