Ethiopia restores social media access after five months

Ameyu Etana, BBC Afaan Oromoo

Ethiopia is allowing people to access Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and YouTube for the first time in more than five months.

The blackout was imposed on 9 February this year after tensions between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the government.

Only those with access to virtual private network (VPN) software could get on to the social media platforms – something that cost them additional data.

The Orthodox Church faced a split in February when some archbishops from the Oromia region said they wanted to form a new synod as they wanted to hold services on the Oromo language.

The move triggered deadly clashes, but a mediation effort by the government has now papered over the cracks.

There has been no statement from the authorities over the decision to lift the ban.

Last month, the head of Ethio Telecom said the blockage was not a decision that had been taken by the state-owned company.

According to the Internet Society, the outage has cost Ethiopia $42m (£32m) because of the knock-on effect on businesses. Others say the figure is higher.

Some areas of the northern region of Tigray, where a brutal two-year conflict came to an end last November, remain without access to the internet.

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Essere sempre sul pezzo è una necessità fondamentale per chi fa informazione sul web nel terzo millennio. Noi del Patto Sociale abbiamo tentato di fare di questa necessità una virtù, lanciando un progetto ambizioso per una realtà in continua crescita come la nostra.

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