Parts of Cameroon’s English speaking regions have been hit by a damaging Internet shut down that is now entering its 5th week according to CNN.
The shut down was the governments response to Anglophone (English-speaking) teachers, lawyers and students going on strike over alleged bias in favour of French-speaking Cameroonians. The strike has been on since early December and when protests turned violent, the government cut off internet access in the region.
Prior to the shut down, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications issued a statement in which it warned social media users of criminal penalties if they were to “issue or spread information, including by way of electronic communications or information technology systems, without any evidence”.
According to the latest reports by the BBC, UN special rapporteur David Kaye said that the termination of Internet services was an “appalling violation” of the right to freedom of expression and has called for access to be restored. The internet ban according to Kaye is a clear attempt by the government to stifle the protest action.
The ban has hit roughly 20% of the country’s population and caused a shock-wave online with many social media users expressing their outrage with the hashtag #BringBackOurInternet.