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More African governments blocked the internet to silence dissent in 2016

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Research report

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- Enablers
- Challenges
- Outcomes and Impacts
- Trends

- Internet Or Digital Rights and Freedoms
- Internet Safety

Author(s): Abdi Latif Dahir

In 2016, the government-directed internet outages became the rule rather than the exception. Throughout the year, numerous African governments intentionally disrupted internet or electronic communication, exerting control over the flow of information and impinging on freedom of expression. These interruptions took place during critical electioneering periods as in Gabon; at protests advocating for social justice and democratic transitions in Ethiopia; or, in the case of Algeria, to stop students from cheating in exams. As such, in 2016, the words “blackouts,” “kill switches” and “internet curfews” became a mainstay in the vocabulary of African political life, alarming civil and digital rights advocates, and in effect, costing African countries hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed revenue.


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