Just when you thought that the whole world would have understood the concept of freedom of speech, along comes Ethiopia to throw a spanner into the works – it seems that the African country has criminalized the use of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services, Skype included. If you are caught and proven in the court of law to use Skype on your computer or portable device, you could be looking at spending the next 15 years of your life in the slammer. While the law itself was passed on May 24th, no one made a meal out of it internationally until recently.
Many Ethiopians are not surprised at this law being passed, as it is deemed to be yet another predictable pattern in the government’s restrictive behaviour. I guess Ethiopia and other countries like Iran can now cozy up with one another, discussing on future methods in clamping down on certain Web services that are available in the free world. Hopefully Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (seen above) will be able to turn the tide around or experience a change in heart to reverse such a draconian policy.
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