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Senegal dragged to court over internet shutdowns

By , Senegal Contributor
Africa , 14 Feb 2024
President Macky Sall.
President Macky Sall.

Media Defence and the Rule of Law Impact Lab at Stanford Law School have filed a case in the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice, challenging Senegal's internet shutdowns last year.

The move has been welcomed as a crucial step towards holding individuals responsible for the internet restrictions that occurred between June and August of last year.

The court case also aims to prevent future shutdowns in the country.

It coincides with an extended closure to quell protest after President Macky Sall's administration postponed polls originally scheduled for this month to December.

Angela Quintal, director of the Committee to Protect Journalists Africa programme, said Senegal's internet suspension highlighted the ongoing need for action to combat such harsh repression.

"The internet is crucial for journalists to work freely and safely, and for the public to access information," she went on to say.

On Tuesday, Communications Minister Moussa Bocar Thiam announced that mobile internet had been stopped again for "certain time slots" due to the dissemination of "hateful and subversive messages" that sparked violent demonstrations.

A march planned for Tuesday to protest the poll's delay was cancelled.

At least three people have been killed during clashes between security personnel and demonstrators. A total of 266 persons, including an undefined number of journalists, were reportedly arrested.

NetBlocks claimed on Tuesday that live traffic data showed mobile internet had been curtailed as authorities imposed cellular data restrictions ahead of protests slated for that afternoon.

"The incident underscores the growing use of mass-censorship in the country," it raised concern.

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