WhatsApp is a popular way of communicating in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s parliament has passed a controversial law aimed at curbing hate speech and disinformation on mainstream and social media.

Critics say the law could be used to suppress divergent views ahead of a general election this year.

It will be the first poll in Ethiopia since Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.

He introduced sweeping reforms and promised free and fair elections.

But the authorities said the law is necessary to deal with a surge in violence recently witnessed across the country.

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