Ethiopian PM falsely claims France has made a decision to block internet

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday falsely claimed the western European nation, France has made a decision to block internet connection domestically. 

The PM made the remark during an end of 2022/2023 fiscal year report to Ethiopian parliament, apparently drawing a parallel with his government’s continuing internet restriction on his country to those of “developed democracies”. 

Ethiopia has blocked several social media apps including Tik-Tok, Telegram, Facebook and WhatsApp since February at a time of heightened government led efforts to divide Ethiopia Orthodox Tewhado Church (EOTC). 

Though, the tension between the EOTC and the Ethiopian government seems to have subsided for now, the internet restriction still continues.

“Regarding media reports about Ethiopia’s internet restrictions, it isn’t only Ethiopia. You’ve heard recently there was a problem in France. For the first time a decision has been made in France to sever the internet. This often happens in Africa, but it’s not usual in the western world,” Abiy told parliamentarians. 

Immediately after the PM’s speech multiple media reports by independent journalists and media outlets debunked Abiy’s claim on France shutting down the internet. 

In particular, a fake letter purporting to be from the French government authorizing internet shutdown in the European country seems to have been the source of PM Abiy’s false claims.

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