The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has bemoaned the
shutdown of internet services across the world, especially in Africa.
The body which is based in Brussels Belgium also accused the Belgian
government of hindering access to information in 2019.
“We are witnessing how governments use excuses of all kinds to prevent
citizens' free access to information,” Anthony Bellanger, IFJ’s
general secretary said.
“On the International Day for Universal Access to Information, we want
to condemn those governments who block the free access to information
and internet and call on them to adopt information laws that guarantee
and protect this access. This is a non-negotiable right in any
The IFJ notes that 31 countries have so far used internet restrictions
to curb free speech and a right to information in 2019.
According to the organisation, internet shutdown is not the only form
of repression that has been used against the media in recent times. It
noted that several media outlets have been barred from disseminating
“The 2018 #KeepItOn report recorded a 161% increase of internet
shutdowns from 2016 to 2018 (75 in 2016 to 196 in 2018), while
politically motivated media shutdowns have become widespread,” the IFJ
The key culprits identified in 2019 have been, Egypt, Sudan, Turkey,
India, Venezuela, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Myanmar.
In Sudan, the Bashir regime shut down access to social media before he
was ousted from office, in Egypt, 34,000 websites have been targeted
with total or partial closure, in India, there have been 72 focused
internet shutdowns and in Turkey, over 170 media channels have been
closed since 2016 for spreading ‘terrorism propaganda'.
Although Nigeria was not mentioned, the country’s government has been
acting paranoid. Prominent among its attacks on bloggers and online
critics are Agba Jalingo and Dadiyata Abubakar, both of whom have
remained in illegal detention.