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Ethiopian Government Denies Banning Skype, Google Voice

Last week, the news about a new legislation banning use of Skype or other PC-to-PC VoIP services in Ethiopia caught the eyes of the media. The main reason was the draconian punishments associated with use of Skype or similar services in the country – people have to rot in jail for 15 years. The head of Communication Affairs of Ethiopian Government has published a new statement clarifying the issue. They said that the bill is aimed to discourage illegal use of commercial VoIP services, not PC-to-PC or PC-to-Phone VoIP services like Skype, Google Voice or likes.


Law, Image Credit: Wikimedia

Shimelis Kemal, deputy head of the Communication Affairs office, explained, “We have not adopted a legislation that prevents people from using internet. You can Skype as much as you want.” He also added, “Internet-based voice service has been allowed. But the main objectives of the law is just preventing illegal activities that hinder the telecommunication service and controlling any cheating.”

He mainly focuses out that the draft bill can reduce illegal use of internet phone where some people wants to make international call with domestic charge. According to the draft, if anyone gets caught using illegal VoIP services he/she will be punished for up to 15 years in prison.

Source: The Reporter Ethiopia

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