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The Ethiopian government has lifted internet restrictions on major social media platforms after months of blocking access.

The restrictions, which affected services like Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, TikTok and YouTube, were imposed in February following anti-government protests related to tensions within the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church.

Though an agreement was reached between the synod and the breakaway synod in March mediated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and elders, the internet restrictions remained in place for over four months.

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The blockade had drawn criticism from human rights groups and the Committee to Protect Journalists who said it violated freedom of expression and access to information. The Media Council of Ethiopia had also called for the restrictions to be lifted.

During the shutdown, Ethiopians resorted to using VPNs to access the internet and social media. The state-owned ethio telecom, which will announce its annual report tomorrow, had previously said the closure was beyond its control.

The CEO of ethio Telecom, Frehiwot Tamiru, told Parliament in June that the social media curbs create “disappointing experiences” for customers and that the company would work to resolve the issue, though acknowledged the decision was beyond its control.

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