Ethiopia eases fear of ‘Skype ban’

Image source: Michaela Kobyakov.Image source: Michaela Kobyakov.The Ethiopian government has not banned voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype, contrary to recent reports

A government spokesperson has refuted the allegation made by Reporters Without Borders that a new law would see audio and video related communications over the Internet banned.

The group said that the Ethiopian government was attempting to "attack every means of information exchange".

Government spokesperson, Shimeles Kemal, told the Sudan Tribune that draft law does not restrict users’ access to Skype or IP-related internet activities, adding that the law simply intends to control telecom related offences.

"The draft law aims to restrict Internet telephone activities, not between telecom activities from computer to computer, but it aims to restrict unlicensed service providers who use the Internet to provide telephone services from the Internet to telephone lines,” said Kemal.

“The aim of the regulation is not aimed at restricting IP and cyber activities. Nor did it intend to restrict computer to computer services.

"There is no prohibition of people calling abroad on Skype from internet cafes or elsewhere."

Kemal added that illegal internet-based activities by independent telephone operators had lost the Ethiopian economy more than US$50 million so far this year.

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