Access to the mobile internet networks is still reportedly blocked throughout Ethiopia as of June 7, despite government claims on June 5 that services had been reestablished. According to the Minister of Communication, only social media websites remain blocked.
Subscribers to broadband internet are reportedly able to get online.
Associated protests are possible.
The internet shutdown was a measure taken by the government purportedly to prevent students from cheating during national school and university entrance exams. The exams were held on May 31 and June 5.
This is not the first time the internet and/or social media sites have been blocked nationwide. In July 2016, the government blocked access to various sites after university exams were canceled in May and rescheduled for July after copies of the test were circulated on social media. The government justified the measure at the time as a means to prevent students from being distracted from studying.
Internet censorship is prevalent in Ethiopia and opposition blogs and human rights websites are often blocked. Traditional media outlets in the country are tightly controlled by the government, which makes social media a particularly valuable tool for citizens to access and share information critical of the authorities. Observers fear that this latest restriction may portend a tighter clampdown on social media to stifle dissent.
Individuals present in Ethiopia are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all potential protests due to the possibility of violence.
On a separate note, due to the terrorist threat linked to the Somali group Al-Shabaab, the majority of Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the Ogaden region and other areas along the border with Somalia, as well as nonessential travel to the rest of the Ethiopian Somali region. The Eritrean, Sudanese, South Sudanese, and Kenyan borders are also considered high-risk destinations.