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Ethiopia bans Skype, other VoIP services

Ethiopia has banned Skype and other use of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol services that offer audio and video related communications.

Internet-based phone calls have been a popular means of communication for government opponents and their supporters abroad. Addis Ababa’s actions are interpreted to be a attempt to cut off these lines of communication with Ethiopians abroad, from which the opposition secure most of their funding.

However, it is as well believed that the new law is intended to protect the state’s monopoly over telephone communications.

The law is as well said to allow the Ministry of Communications and Information to ban the import of communications equipment.

Reporters Without Borders criticised Ethiopia's crackdown on Internet users and accused the East African country of trying to "attack every means of information exchange."

Ambroise Pierre from the Reporters Without Borders Africa service told the BBC: "There’s already a very strict control over written press, and last year several journalists were arrested, and now the government is tackling communications over the Internet".

Local journalists have accused the Ethiopian government of trying to take control of Internet-based telecom services by intensifying a crack down on Internet cafés while the past few weeks.

More information: Sudantribune