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Yohannes Ayalew Presents at Johannesburg workshop on 'Freedom of Expression, and Internet shutdown in Ethiopia: the question of Accountability'

12 June 2018

On June 8th, NFP Fellow, and LL.M candidate in International Human Rights Law, Yohannes Eneyew Ayalew , presented a paper in a workshop on Internet Shutdown in Africa held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yohannes has been invited as a speaker in a joint workshop organized by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights , University of Oxford the programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy , and University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Yohannes Ayalew
Yohannes Ayalew

Yohannes presented on the interface between freedom of expression and Internet shutdowns in Ethiopia, and questioned how the government used a plethora of narrative(s) and draconian laws to shutdown the Internet, and in turn muzzle freedom of expression. From 2016 onwards, at least five Internet blackouts/shutdowns were seen throughout the country; the Ethiopian government used exam cheating, national security, and public order as a raison d'être for the shutdowns. He also suggested a possible way-out from a human rights perspective in such scenarios.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is critiqued by the UN Special Rappertuer on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, in his successive reports— on contemporary challenges of freedom of expression in 2016 (para 21), and the freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age in 2017 (para 13), for its shutdown measures, especially concerned with the deliberate throttling of the internet that silences individuals’ free speech. Drawing on the UN Special Rapporteur findings, Yohannes offered a cornucopia of accountability measures for Internet blackouts occurring in Ethiopia.


This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:12 June 2018 4.10 p.m.

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