Ethiopia OKs Law Against Sharing Defamatory Speech Online
Ethiopia’s parliament on Tuesday approved a law to imprison people who distribute defamatory speech, porn and spam online, a move that bloggers and activists said is meant to silence dissent.
The law’s most severe charge is 10 years’ imprisonment for sharing pornography online. Sharing defamatory speech or spam gets at least three years in jail.
Ethiopia’s cybersecurity officials have stated the country undergoes more than 1,000 cyberattacks each day, and the government has stated the brand-new law will enable it to prosecute such crimes more effectively.
However, rights groups have accused the East African country of restricting freedom of expression and utilizing spyware versus dissidents living overseas. An Ethiopian court last month charged an opposition activist over his Facebook posts.
Daniel Berhane, a popular blog writer, stated the new law is an issue to him as an editor of a site that has a number of factors and is an active user of social networks.
“It jumbled arrangements for cyberattacks with provisions about content, thus paving the way for a heavy-handedness on online expression,” he said.