ADDIS ABABA: Sweden’s national television channel SVT has reported that their website has been blocked by the Ethiopia government since early Saturday morning. The reported blocking, which Bikyamasr.com was able to confirm was not loading in the country, comes less than two weeks after two Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were given pardons after serving one-year in jail on “terrorism” charges after being arrested while covering stories in the eastern part of the country.
According to sources contacted by SVT, the svt.se website has been down in the country since early on Saturday morning. Despite SVT’s claims, one top government official says that if it has been blocked it did “not come from the top,” arguing that new Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has “not given any notification for any media outlet to be blocked in the country.”
But another reporter said Ethiopia is weary of Sweden’s coverage of the country and is taking precautions.
“Ethiopia is very uncomfortable with the information that we have broadcast. They know that we are going to produce more,” said reporter Johan Ripås to svt.se. According to Mikael Hvinlund at SVT the cause of the interruption is under investigation.
“It is very regrettable if it is that they have shut down our site, that a country imposes such restrictions. We have had a comprehensive coverage and have strong sources, and they are obviously irritated by the publicity,” he told the TT news agency.
It is still unclear if the site is being blocked by the government, or there is a problem with the service providers in Ethiopia, although experts say the blocking is more likely a cause.