"NOT NECESSARY"

'Internet's not water': Ethiopia PM defends blackouts

Abiy Ahmed says the internet shut down was done to 'save lives'.

In Summary

• Mr Abiy, who has brought in sweeping reforms since coming to power in April last year, said it was better to incur economic losses than the loss of a single life. 

• The internet and text services were also shut down earlier in June when national school exams were being held to prevent cheating.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has justified the government’s right to shut down the internet, saying it is done to save lives.

“Internet is not water, internet is not air,” he told journalists in the capital, Addis Ababa on Thursday as he defended the closure of internet services in the wake of a coup attempt in June.

He gave a warning that if people used the internet to incite people to kill fellow citizens and destroy property, then a switch-off could be long term.

 

"It eases communication and facilitates trade when we use it properly. It eases communication and facilitates trade when we use it properly. However, if we use it as a revolution tool to incite others to kill and burn, it will be shut down not only for a week but longer than that," he said.

Mr Abiy, who has brought in sweeping reforms since coming to power in April last year, said it was better to incur economic losses than the loss of a single life.

 

The internet and text services were also shut down earlier in June when national school exams were being held to prevent cheating.


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