Ethiopia’s state of emergency is taking on more restrictive measures as the government has made the move to ban Facebook posts. Any Facebook posts that seeks to reveal the current state of the country is now a crime.
The government made the announcement over the weekend and added that watching Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio will also attract punishment.
Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio are all outlets that are run by members of Ethiopia’s diaspora which are supportive of the anti-government protesters and critical of the government.
Prior to this move to make Facebook posts illegal, Ethiopia’s internet had actually been shut down some days ago. The government gave no reason for the internet shutdown at the time but past accusations by the government that the opposition was utilizing Facebook and Twitter to instigate protests in the country had been supposed as the reason.
It would seem that the government is no longer shying away from publishing their discontent with those using social media to inspire action. Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense, said on state television;
“The military command will take action on those watching and posting on these social media outlets.”
Ethiopians who may be tempted to violate the terms of the state of emergency risk imprisonment for three to five years. The state of emergency has also required a ban on all expressions or communication that could incite violence which includes the famous Oromia protest gesture of crisscrossed arms over the head.
Ethiopians are also banned from listening to Voice of America or German Radio and foreign diplomats have been barred from traveling more than 40km (25 miles) outside of the capital without prior approval. There is a 6pm curfew around major infrastructure projects, farms, government institutions, and factories to protect businesses and government property.