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MPs confirm internet censorship in Senegal

Draft Law No 28/2018 on the Electronic Telecommunications Code was adopted by a majority of the Vice-Presidents of the National Assembly on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 … while it was for announcement.

The very controversial law on ARTp and the control of Internet operators in Senegh was sent by letter to the Post Office of the National Assembly on Wednesday, 28 November, in connection with the ministry's budget vote on Telecommunications, Telecommunications, Jobs and the Digital Economy. Two amendments rejected, one not verified, and voila. Most of the Members confirmed what, according to many observers, would be Internet censorship in Senegal.

As a reminder, the law referred to in Article 27 of the law threatens Senegal's access to Internet telephony applications: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber etc. This event would be a major blow to the country's digital economy and could call into question the significant progress made by the Senegalese Democrats.

The final paragraph of Article 27 of the Code states: "The regulatory body may authorize or introduce any traffic management measure it considers necessary, inter alia, to maintain competition in the electronic communications sector and to provide data processing for similar services."

This provision of the new code for electronic communications jeopardizes Net Neutrality and thus provides ARTP and operators with the ability to slow down access to the Over the top (OTT) filter WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Skype, etc. to protect the interests of mobile operators to the detriment of users.

This is a rule that can also result in a two-speed internet connection. One for the rich and one for the poor in a country where the digital divide is already open.

Article 27 of the Law on the Electronic Communications therefore jeopardizes the development of the digital economy (start-ups) and young people who operate online media and social networks.

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