Several countries placed restrictions on the Internet in 2023. In Ethiopia, losses are estimated at $200 million due to the blocking of access to social networks.
More countries shut down the Internet in 2022 than ever before
More countries shut down the Internet in 2022 than ever before, according to a new report by digital rights researchers, as the threat of “digital authoritarianism” accelerates on the agenda of many governments around the world.
Authorities in 35 countries have instituted Internet shutdowns at least 187 times, according to Access Now, the New York-based digital rights watchdog. Nearly half of those shutdowns were in India, and if that country is excluded, 2022 saw the most shutdowns worldwide since the group began monitoring disruptions in 2016. Access Now relied on technical assessments as well as news articles and personal accounts to compile its report, which covers complete outages, suspensions of specific phone networks or social media apps, and slowed internet speeds.
Authorities in Ethiopia have used Internet suspensions to complement military strategy by cutting off access to certain populations for months or years, the authors said.
Access Now said the Internet suspension in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, first imposed in 2020, is the longest active shutdown in the world. Telephone networks in the region were reportedly back online following an agreed truce in November, but Access Now noted in February that Internet access was still slow or degraded.
The losses are estimated at 200 million dollars
Digital economy experts said the closure of some social networking sites in Ethiopia has affected the online market.
The vice president of Digital Transformation Ethiopia, Bahru Zeinu, revealed that the closure of social networks has slowed down online shopping significantly. According to the same source, this situation “has a negative impact on the economy”.
The National Human Rights Commission in Ethiopia considered that the blocking of social networking sites is a violation of the right of access to information and freedom of expression, and that these restrictions must be lifted.
According to experts, the losses are estimated at 200 million dollars. Social networks are an integral part of daily life in Ethiopia, and represent a considerable market.