Sierra Leone

Senegal must set an example, keep the internet accessible during elections

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Senegal safeguarded access to free, open, and secure internet and digital platforms during the country’s 2019 presidential elections, and today, the #KeepItOn coalition is urging authorities to uphold this legacy, and keep the population connected throughout local elections on January 23.

“Senegal has shown the region how the internet can promote democracy and encourage civic participation during elections,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “As the country heads to vote on January 23, we know authorities will prioritize freedom of expression, access to information, and avenues for communication through secure, accessible internet.”

Although upholding access throughout previous elections, there were allegations of disruptions to social media platforms that lasted several hours, and the suspension of two television stations during protests in 2021. This interference was in violation of people’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression and access to information.

Through an open letter to President Macky Sall, Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition are requesting authorities:

  • Publicly assure the people of the Republic of the Senegal that the internet, including social media and other digital communication platforms, will remain open, accessible, and secure across Senegal throughout the election and thereafter;
  • Order internet service providers operating in the country to provide everyone with high-quality, secure, and unrestricted internet access; and
  • Order internet service providers operating in the country to inform internet users of any potential disruptions and to take all reasonable steps to fix any identified disruptions likely to impact the quality of service they receive.

Read the open letter.