AFRICAN governments denied about 300 million people internet access in 2022, according to a study by Surfshark, a privacy protection toolset.
The study said while 4.2 billion people were affected by internet censorship globally, “nearly a third of a billion Africans were denied internet access” in the year under review.
Out of 32 countries that experienced 112 cases of internet disruptions, five African countries – Sudan, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Siera Leone and Somalia – were listed as having banned internet 13 times in 2022.
Africa ranked second, with Asia recording the worst cases of internet disruptions.
Protests and political turmoil were identified as the leading causes of internet restrictions by the authoritarian governments.
“More than half of the world’s population was affected by internet censorship last year. Many of these cases involved full internet disruptions on a local or national level.
“These can be devastating and extremely dangerous especially during wartime, protests or violent government repressions, said Surfshark’s spokeswoman, Gabriele Recaityte-Krasauke.
With some of these restrictions still in place in 2023, the study feared that more Africans may be exposed to further oppression by their governments if they disagree with policies.
Nigerians experienced internet restriction when the Federal government on June 5, 2021 effected a ban on the use of Twitter in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the government banned the micro blogging site because it was being used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
The ban, which lasted for seven months, was, however, lifted on January 13, 2022.
Sinafi Omanga is a journalist with The ICIR. His Twitter handle is @OmangaSinafi and Email: email@example.com