Ethiopia to criminalise sharing anti-government pictures on the internet

Photo: Ethiopians in Washington, D.C. 

By DailyNation

The Ethiopian government has drafted a new law, which will punish spammers with up to five years of imprisonment for mass mail distribution to advertise or sell products and services as well as people who share pictures and other contents using computer network.

Labelled ‘Computer Crime Proclamation’, the draft law was presented to the Ethiopian Parliament on Wednesday.

“Whosoever intentionally intimidates or threatens another person or his family with serious danger or injury by disseminating any writing, video, audio or any other image through a computer system shall be punishable, with simple imprisonment not exceeding three years or in a serious cases with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding five years,” reads article 13 sub article 1 of the draft proclamation which talks about crimes against liberty and reputation of persons.

It is not yet clear if the new law targets people who share pictures exposing the misdeeds of law enforcement agencies like the recent photos of the dead and wounded people during the recent Oromo students’ protests, which went viral on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, among others.

The 53 pages of the new law didn’t mention how it may impact government’s ongoing effort to bring good governance to the country by collecting information from whistle blowers and victims of human rights violations and corruption, among others.

Unless there is a prior consent from the recipient, dissemination of messages to multiple email addresses at a time, will lead up to imprisonment of five years and fine not exceeding 50,000 Ethiopian birr (around $2,355).