Laws are being planned in Ethiopia to fight dissemination of false information and hate speeches, according to the country’s federal prosecutor.
The draft law has been established because social media outlets have been recklessly used, to aggravate clashes between ethnic groups, as well as spreading insults against politicians and government officials, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
The law is intended to ensure that freedom of expression should not be practiced at the expense of the dignity, security, and safety of other citizens.
The federal prosecutor claims that hate speeches and dissemination of wrong information have been exacerbating ethnic clashes, through eroding the unity of the multi-ethic nation, as well as abusing the ongoing democracy of the country.
The draft legislation was first discussed at a forum organized by law faculty of Addis Ababa University, where both opposition party representatives and academics also participated.
If ratified, citizens involved in the writing and/or deliberate dissemination of hate speech could be put behind bars for up to three years and pay up to $346 or 10,000 Ethiopian birr fine.
An individual or individuals who happen to cause fear or threat as a result of hate speech could face up to ten years of jail terms.
Disseminating wrong information, making speeches whose substance has intentions of creating havoc, and encouragement of clashes between different ethnic groups, will be banned once the draft bill comes into effect.