By Macdonald Ayang, March 10, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Internet Without Borders, is reporting that current Internet blackout in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon is the longest ever witnessed anywhere on the African continent.
The NGO, which has been critical about internet suspensions which are common on the continent, said in a recent release that the prolonged internet ban in the North West and South West Regions has so far caused over $1.3 million loss in business revenue.
The group had reported earlier how barely two weeks into the blackout, financial losses in the two affected Regions, amounted to about $730, 000, recorded by enterprises that function partly or in whole with the assistance of internet.
So far, there are reports that some of the affected companies have set up temporary shops in neighboring Regions where there is internet connectivity in order not to continue to suffer untold losses.
Government shut down Internet in the North West and South West Regions on the evening of January 17, shortly after the reading on state radio, CRTV, of a ministerial order banning the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.
In a bid to justify the internet ban, Communication Minister and government’s spokesman, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said the shutdown was triggered by the propagation of false information on social media capable of inciting hate and violence in the crisis-hit Regions.
Critics have long slammed the move, calling it primitive and an abuse of human rights.
Aside Internet Without Borders, many local and international rights and civil society groups have also called on government to revoke the ban, which is now also being pushed forth as one of the pre-conditions for the effective resumption of schools in the two-English speaking Regions. Schools have remained largely shut down in the Regions since November 21, 2016.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is the latest international institution to call for the restoration of Internet in the affected North West and South West Regions. That was through a press statement dated March 7. Government is yet to react to the calls.