Outrage as Senegal cuts internet access for the second time
Senegal's government has blocked mobile internet connections in order to ensure public order following protests in which social media was used to distribute "hateful and subversive messages," according to a statement issued on Monday.
Senegal's Minister of Communication, Telecommunications, and Digital Economy, Moussa Bocar Thiam, stated that the mobile internet suspension will be temporary and will occur at specific periods of the day commencing July 31.
"Telephone operators are required to comply with the notified requests," Thiam stated emphatically.
Around 9 a.m. on Monday, mobile internet customers in the West African country began to experience unstable or no access. It is the second disruption since last June, sparked by riots after opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was arrested.
NetBlocks, a global internet monitoring service that measures connection and governance, confirmed the development.
Orange Senegal, a mobile network operator, informed its users of the outage by SMS: "Dear customers, the state has decided to suspend mobile internet, resulting in disruptions on the part of all operators. We sincerely regret for any inconvenience."
The recent internet outage has caused local and international concern, with the Senegalese government being urged to restore connectivity. #FreeSenegal, said the rights group Article 19 Senegal on Twitter.
“Internet blackouts and other forms of internet censorship are a violation of free expression and information access. The government must refrain from shutting down the internet, especially during protests and tensions. #KeepItOn"