Today is my birthday.
Am back in
And today for the first time in ten days I actually have access to my blog!
No, haven’t been quiet because I have been shirking my responsibilities in terms of timely updating as some may be prone to think. The real fact of the matter is that I have not been able to access my blog while in
It all started with the day I arrived – wanted to do my usual posts and eagerly logged in to do the deed. Waited and waited for the page to load – no luck. Thought it was a slow connection and tried a couple times more with the same result. Figuring it was a problem with my page – though couldn’t understand why that would be so - tried my other favorite links – same result. No access!
Changed tactics and tried to load from other angles - tried going in through a web search (and then accessing the link), and tried accessing it from Google's main blogger sign in page. No luck.
Got me wondering if there was a larger issue and not just my connection, googled to see and came across this article (see below) - guess that explains why I cannot have access.
The allegation is that Ethiopia has basically blocked access to Goggle's blogger service! The government has strongly denied this. Also found an article on Global Voices mentioning that sites with 'blogspot' in their URLs are routinely blocked. Was interesting to see the kinds of responses to this post, including by Ethiopians themselves. Quite varied views.
Been doing a bit of loose reading around the topic and it's interesting to see that such actions are not taken only by African governments - but similar cases have also been reported (though to a lesser extent) in developed countries. There is a book that came out earlier this year (Feb 2008) called Access Denied – that looks at this increasingly global phenomenon and how different governments have been using this. Needless to say my interest has been aroused - going to try and get a copy.
So just in case you are wondering why my blog has not been updated - this is the reason. Blocked? Technical difficulties? Hmmm, whichever way, it's just good to be back on-line.
Now off to catch up on all the posts from others that I have missed and of course to celebrate my birthday!
ADDIS ABABA, May 1 (Reuters) - An Internet watchdog on Tuesday accused Ethiopia of blocking scores of anti-government Web sites and millions of Weblogs in one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest cases of cyber-censorship.
Web monitor, the OpenNet Initiative, said the Horn of Africa country was stopping citizens from viewing opposition-linked Web sites, and blogs hosted by Blogger, an online journal community owned by Internet search engine Google Inc.
"We may have technical problems from time to time," Information Ministry spokesman Zemedkun Tekle. "But we have not done anything like that and we have no intention of doing anything like that."
The OpenNet Initiative -- a partnership between
"We have run diagnostic tests using volunteers in Ethiopia which indicate that they are blocking IP addresses," OpenNet research director Robert Faris said, referring to the unique numeric addresses of Web sites.
"The evidence is overwhelming that that is what they are doing. ... Most of the sites that we found blocked were related to freedom of expression, human rights and political opposition," he said by telephone from the
The allegations could be embarrassing for the Ethiopian government, which is a major ally of the
"I think it's a decision that makes the Ethiopian government look extremely hostile to free speech and to open political discourse," said Ethan Zuckerman, research fellow at the