#BringBackOurInternet: 197 days of Internet shut down in Cameroon

cameroon internet shut down
6 minutes approx.

Photo: Quartz

We thought it was over with the restoration of Internet in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon in March 2017 after 97 days, but it seems it was not. To mark the 100th day of the second round of Internet shutdown in the same regions of the same country, a tweetchat was organized on Saturday January 7, 2018 by Access Now and Internet Without Borders with leading figures of the #BringBackOurInternet fight since the first shut down such as Rebecca Enonchong, Judith Nwana and Sophie Ngassa.

To set the scene, since November 2016, the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon (also knwon as the Anglophone regions of the country) rose up after molestation of lawyers and teachers who were asking for better working conditions. The situation gave room to expression of a deep rooted ill-being of the English-speaking population of Cameroon dating from decolonization and reunification of the country.

According to Cameroonian authorities, the first shut down was to prevent fake news and hatred speech to spread. No official statement has been made so far concerning the current network disturbance, so we assume the same reasons still stand. However, citizens have a different theory about the whole situation:

Several points were raised during the tweet chat, starting with experience of people suffering from the shutdown:

 

The sense of abandonment and the growing radicalization of youth in the two regions was also raised:


To fix the situation, avenues of action were proposed, commitments were made, as well as calls to action:

It is a pity the second #BringBackOurInternet tweetchat generated much less attention than the first one that took place on April 27, 2017. Many people seem not to be aware of the fact that after restoration, Internet has been slowed down in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon to the point that it has become useless. The announcement of the restoration of Internet after 97 days put an end to the matter when it comes to public opinion.

EC too is affected by the situation since our designer is living in Buea and cannot work or send any file at the moment. The first shutdown lasted 97 days and costed about 2.69 million Euros during the first 60 days. Cameroon is entering a new structural adjustment due to public funds and cash-flow challenges. Financial losses recorded for 197 days (and counting) of Internet shutdown is too heavy for a country pretending to fight against poverty.

 

  • Elle Citoyenne
    Elle Citoyenne

    Citizen Media

    Elle Citoyenne is a bilingual (Fre-Eng) citizen media aiming at educating people on all things pertaining to citizen participation, giving the floor to citizens for them to voice out thoughts and propose solutions to problems experienced by their communities, and promoting citizens' actions for the welfare of their communities.

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