Ethiopia's blogosphere was awash with speculation and accusations today after all websites hosted by the popular Blogger platform disappeared from the country's computer screens.
Twenty-three of the 32 Ethiopian blogs tracked by Global Voices could not be accessed by Ethiopian internet users – who all rely on the state monopoly Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp for their connections.
Internet users outside Ethiopia (and in the capital's United Nations compound which has its own internet connection) had no problem clicking on the links.
At the time of writing, there was no official announcement from Ethiopian Telecoms to explain the disappearances. But the bloggers themselves were not slow to point the finger.
Seminawork, claimed the scoop by reporting that it had been blocked alongside all other websites with ‘blogspot’ in their URL. The Ethiopia-based blogger known as Ethio-Zagol reported:
Over the last two days, all blogspots blogs including http://www.seminawork.blogspot.com/ have been blocked in Ethiopia. Those who seek political quips fron weichegud or intelligent analysis form other bloggers can't access the sites via the telecom servers. In addition, the government has blocked Ethiopian Review, cyber ethiopia, quatero and Free our leaders websites. My sources told me this is done by tel. with the advise and help of the chinese.
All of the websites mentioned in his post are well known for their anti-government commentary.
Ethiopian Politics, another Blogger blog invisible inside Ethiopia's borders, passed on the message in the post Breaking News – Government Blocks Blogs!:
According to Ethio Zagol all “blogspot” blogs have been blocked in Ethiopia including “the Ethiopian Review” and “Free our leaders” websites. Ethio Zagol further states that this was done by the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation with the advise and help of the Chinese government.
Where have all of Ethiopia's Blogspot bloggers gone? … Is there a big conspiracy? Or is it just another day of dodgy ETC dial-up connections? How will we ever know?