The Ethiopian government has shut down access to mobile internet in Ethiopia. The reason?- To prevent leakage of exam papers.

Internet access was shut down around on Tuesday, and is yet to be restored. “The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” says Mohammed Seid of the Office for Government Communications Affairs, to the Reuters news agency.

Ethiopia had earlier blocked the internet in July 2016, after university entrance exams were posted online, with another block following in August 2016

According to the BBC, it was unable to access websites belonging to the Ethiopian government and the sole communications provider, Ethio Telecom on Thursday. Preliminary data from Google shows a decrease in Ethiopian internet traffic to Google services since Wednesday afternoon.

Internet shutdowns seem to be a growing and worrisome trend in Africa. Algeria shut down its internet to prevent cheating in school exams in June last year. In other instances it has been for political reasons such as in Cameroon earlier this year.

Access to the internet is now recognised as a human right and on no account should it be shut down for educational, political or whatever reasons. There should be other methods to safeguard the integrity of exams. Shutting down the internet not only points to a willingness to stifle freedom of expression but also an admission of failure of government to tackle problems.


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