Internet access in Uganda has reportedly been restored after the Government shut it down ahead of the national election.
Last week, the Uganda Communications Commission ordered telecommunications companies to immediately suspend any access and use of social media and online messaging platforms – gradually Facebook and other social platforms were shutdowns before finally the entire country was disconnected.
In an official tweet, NetBlocks, an internet freedom monitor, revealed that 13% of the East African country is seemingly back online.
Update: It has been 100 hours since #Uganda imposed a nationwide internet blackout on the eve of elections. Service has not been restored and real-time network data show connectivity hovers at just 13% of ordinary levels ⌚️📉 #UgandaDecides2021
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) January 17, 2021
Netblocks also says that such a blackout could have already cost the Ugandan economy around $9 million.
According to CNN, Yoweri Museveni has been re-elected for a sixth term, despite “widespread allegations of fraud and intimidation”. Reports suggest that Museveni’s rule has been challenged over the years through protests and potential rivals. Recently, however, “a key tactic in curtailing opposition has been to control Ugandans’ access to the internet“.
“After a brutal, months-long crackdown on the media, Uganda’s internet disruption is the latest attempt to keep the country’s citizens in the dark … and to prevent journalists from reporting on events surrounding the vote,” Muthoki Mumo, a regional representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement.
“Ugandan authorities should reverse course and take steps to ensure unrestricted internet access and guarantee that the public is adequately informed during the post-election period.”
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