The people of Niger headed to the polls on 21 February to vote for their next president. Three days later, however, as protesters gathered on the streets of Niamey and other regions following the official announcement of election results, major internet service providers (ISPs) in the country disrupted mobile internet.
“Authorities in Niger have no right to censor the population,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “We’re watching the very disturbing trend of internet shutdowns wash over the African continent like a wave of oppression. This is not acceptable during an election, this is not acceptable the other 364 days of the year.”
Internet shutdowns affect countless aspects of life, but when implemented during an election, they can exacerbate already high tensions, and lead to violence.
Access Now joins organizations such as Human Rights Watch in condemning these actions, and calls on authorities to ensure the internet is fully restored and remains accessible across the regions of Niger.