By Abdul Rahman Bangura-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- The Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Affairs asked all mobile telecommunications companies to follow the dictates of the Ministry.
“The Minister informs the public that due to the dissemination of several hateful and subversive messages relayed on social networks in a context of threats of disturbances to public order, the internet of data mobile phones is temporarily suspended”.
The circumstances aroused after President Macky Sall called off this month’s election. He referenced a row over the legality of candidates as the reason. Macky Sall has served for consecutively two terms and constitutionally, he is mandated to relinquish office this year. The duration for the mobile internet suspension is unknown.
This is not the first time Senegal has made utilization in the disguise of “hateful messages” to limit the internet. In June of 2023, opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was officially charged with fomenting an insurrection. His arrest and subsequent imprisonment led to violence. This promoted the Administration to shut down the internet in Senegal.
Internet observatory organization – Netblocks has not formally assured disruptions. Thus, the Director has exhorted people in Senegal to utilization the platform to confirm if their internet service provider is limiting specific online platforms.
According to a 2023 report from GSMA 68% of Senegalese adults in urban areas own a smart phone while 49% of rural adults own a smartphone. As of Senegal’s total population of 17.42 million in January 2022, about 8.01 million are internet users. Senegal’s internet penetration rate stood at 46.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2022.
And the mobile services market in the Senegal has three operators. Namely, Orange (Sonatel), Free Senegal and Expresso Senegal/Sudatel.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent