ADDIS ABEBA – A bill that aims to control hate speech and fake news has been endorsed by the Council of Ministers on Saturday.
The bill was among five draft laws that were presented before Abiy Ahmed’s cabinet for discussion.
The draft law was drafted by the Attorney General in a bid to prevent fake news and hate speech, which have become matter of concern for government and society in recent times.
In the past year, rights groups say speeches by government officials, activists and others in Ethiopia have disseminated quickly through social media and helped trigger or fuel violent conflicts in the country.
The attorney general’s office believes that having the law a step forward to address hate speech. The Council approved the bill and sent it to the House for endorsement.
The council also reviewed and approved four other documents including an agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and Djibouti to build a natural gas pipeline.
The agreement, which was approved on the same day, helps to facilitate the construction of a pipeline that will transport Ethiopian gas to an export terminal in the Red Sea state.
The council also endorsed another draft proclamation designed to address the federal administrative discipline, and forwarded it, along with the agreement with Djibouti and hate speech law, to the lower house of Ethiopian parliament for their eventual ratification.
The other documents that the Council looked into and approved to become effective are a draft administrative regulation for the defense force and a bill to set up the defense force foundation.