Using Skype in Ethiopia will earn you 15 years in prison

In Ethiopia, using Skype will earn you 15-year prison sentence

June 15, 2012  —  Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has passed a controversial legislation that criminalizes the use of Skype, Google Voice and all Voice Over IP (VoIP) communications.

Citing reasons of "national security" for taking such harsh measures, the bill was put into law on May 24. According to the BBC, violators of this law will face stiff fines and a maxim of 15 years in prison.

In what is seen as the government's attempt at clamping down on dissidents, Zenawi has ordered a number of restrictions on the local press and media of late, including blocking the anonymous TOR service.

"Nothing really surprises me anymore from this regime. What's next? Will Meles criminalize smoke signals too? This dictator must go!" said a 29-year-old teacher from Addis Ababa by phone.

Fleeing persecution and lengthy prison sentences, some 79 journalist have fled Ethiopia since 2001, the highest figure in the world, according to the New York-based Committie to Protect Journalist.

Globally, Ethiopia has the second lowest internet penetration rate of 0.5 percent and one of the slowest internet connections.

Using  Skype in Ethiopia will earn you up to 15 years in prison