Ethiopia shuts down social media ahead of university exams

Ethiopia has blocked social media sites since Saturday and for the next few days, after questions from end-of-year exams were posted online last month, sparking a national scandal and leading to their annulment.

A government spokesman said the ban was aimed at stopping students taking university entrance exams this week from being "distracted.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber have been inaccessible in Ethiopia since Saturday morning.

"It's blocked. It's a temporary measure until Wednesday. Social media have proven to be a distraction for students," government spokesperson Getachew Reda told AFP.

According to a twitter handle @AtnafB, “only government-owned social media accounts are working because telecom operators have been told not to block these specific lines.”

Ethiopia is one of the first African countries to censor the internet, beginning in 2006 with opposition blogs, according to experts.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the blocking of internet as a human rights violation.
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