[Documentary -Amharic] The social media boom in Ethiopia

borkena
January 5,2014

Ethiopia , a country with more than 90 million total population, is one of those African countries with very least internet accessibility and users. The number of Ethiopians on facebook is now over 1 million – after the alleged “social media” boom.

While the concern about cultural conquest through social media is sensible, the regime in Ethiopia did not have a record of plan or policy to reverse cultural norms that challenge the very existence of Ethiopian values and norms. The truth is the regime systematically thwarted Ethiopian values possibly to derange the likelihood of increased politicization of the youth along the avenue of opposition. After all, the government is implicated in facilitating, through administrative mechanisms or other wise, mass emigration of young girls to Middle Eastern countries( Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, among others) through traffickers with links to the men in power, and also in mass adoption which turned out to be a multimillion dollar business like affair.

In the EBC, new name for Ethiopian Television (ETV), video above which was apparently released sometime in the first week of December 2014, Maj. General Teklebirhan Wolde-Aregay seem to paint a picture of ambivalence when it comes to internet and social media users in Ethiopia. Ironically, Ethiopians who are arbitrarily thrown to jail are those who dared to employ internet and social media for the purpose of political and human rights activism including journalists. So far no citizen, to the knowledge of this writer, is arrested or questioned for using social media or internet for matters culturally outlandish with negative implications for the Ethiopian society. And that is why what Major General Teklebirhan Wolde-Aregay lip service with regard to culture makes no sense.

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