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Zambia Shuts Down Access to Twitter and WhatsApp as Country Votes

Zambia Shuts Down Access to Twitter and WhatsApp as Country Votes

Mobile phone social media and messaging apps have been restricted in Zambia #momusicdate

 Mobile phone social media and messaging apps have been restricted in Zambia as the country continues to vote in a general election, internet monitoring service Netblocks says.

This means that services such as Twitter and WhatsApp are not available.

Several other African countries have in recent years restricted access to certain apps on polling day including Uganda and Tanzania.

Cases of internet shutdowns in Africa have been rising. Tanzania restricted access to the internet and social media applications during elections in October 2020.

In June that year, Ethiopia imposed an internet shutdown which lasted for close to a month after unrest that followed the killing of a prominent Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa.

Zimbabwe, Togo, Burundi, Chad, Mali and Guinea also restricted access to the internet or social media applications at some point in 2020.

In 2019, there were 25 documented instances of partial or total internet shutdowns, compared with 20 in 2018 and 12 in 2017, according to Access Now, an independent monitoring group.

The group says that in 2019, seven of the 14 countries that blocked access had not done so in the two previous years (these were Benin, Gabon, Eritrea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania and Zimbabwe) but notes that this is part of a global trend, where more and more countries are restricting internet access.

The group says in Africa, most lockdowns tend to affect entire countries as opposed to specific regions or groups of people.

In 2019, 21 out of the 25 shutdowns recorded by the group affected entire countries or most parts of the countries.

Only Sudan and Ethiopia had targeted shutdowns.

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