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[The Activism Blog] Paradigm Initiative condemns internet shutdown in Cameroon

Digital Rights Advocacy group, the Paradigm Initiative of Nigeria (PIN) has condemned the continuous Internet shutdown in Cameroon which began on September 30, 2017.

In a press release on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, the organisation according to its executive director, Gbenga Sesan states that “this ongoing shutdown is particularly worrying because the government sent out a press statement dated September 27, promising not to shut down the internet. It is frustrating that the government has turned around to go against its own words, all within a few days.

“As civil society groups and other partners work to bring an end to the spate of internet shutdowns in Africa, we want to call on other African countries to avoid the bad examples displayed by Cameroon and Togo in recent weeks. In light of Africa’s severe developmental challenges, the internet, which is an enabler of development, should be kept on to help the continent make the leap and join the league of prosperous and developed nations,”

Internet shutdowns constitute an unacceptable affront to citizens’ freedom of expression and are disastrous for the economy of the affected regions as they affect people’s ability to communicate, conduct business, call for help, apply for opportunities, among other important tasks.

Boye Adegoke, a program manager with Paradigm Initiative also said, “The ease with which African governments shut down the internet threatens the future of democracy and the nascent digital economy on the continent. This is why we recently wrote international bodies including the Africa Union and the United Nations Human Rights Commission, urging them to halt the spate of internet shutdowns in Africa. International bodies should, therefore, intervene, especially in Togo and Cameroon where the internet continues to be under attack from the state”.

According to the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), internet shutdowns cost an average $1 Million a day. This is undoubtedly a price too steep to pay just to deny citizens a means of venting their anger.

 

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