The presidency of the Republic of Benin has announced the repeal of a tax adopted on July 25, which specifically targeted the use of social networks. For several weeks, Internet Without Borders denounced the repressive nature of this social media tax alongside many organizations of Beninese civil society. Surprising and ironic, it is by using its social media profiles that the Presidency of Benin made the announcement:
“Following the meeting between the #prbenin #PatriceTalon, some Ministers, and GSM operators this Saturday, September 22, 2018, the tax on social media packages and on the internet will be canceled.”
Suite à la réunion entre le #prbenin#PatriceTalon, quelques Ministres, et les opérateurs GSM ce samedi 22 septembre 2018, la taxe sur les forfaits réseaux sociaux et sur internet sera annulée.
Un communiqué sera diffusé en fin de journée pour préciser les contours de la décision pic.twitter.com/howoVP51ex
As noticed by this beninese activit, online activism by young beninese paid off. This 3 last weeks, thousands of social media accounts on facebook and twitter used the Hashtag “TaxePaMesMo” ( dont tax my Mega Octets ) to denounce and ask the repeal of the new regulation.
Good news! 🙌
Our online activism paid off. The government of #Benin announced this morning the withdrawal of that tax on internet and social media use!
Internet is still undefeated, and social media can definitely challenge the existing social structures.#TaxePasMesMo 👊
According to Julie Owono, executive Director of Internet Without Borders: ”
“Internet Without Borders welcomes this victory of digital citizenship in Benin. The mobilization online, around the Hashtag #TaxePamesMo (Don’t Tax My MegaBytes), showed to the world the anger of netizens in the country. This anger and indignation enabled them to denounce the tax and to enter into a dialogue with the authorities, which fortunately led to its cancellation. This case also shows the strength of the young Beninese democracy. The annulment of the social media tax is an important precedent for digital rights and freedoms in West Africa.”
Julie Owono, Executive Director, Internet Sans Frontières