Internet back in anglophone Cameroon, but more surveillance?
On 20 April 2016, the Government of Cameroon ordered telecommunications operators to restore access to the Internet in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon.
These two regions, where the English-speaking minority of the country lives, witness demonstrations since November 2016 against alleged marginalization felt by citizens, and expressed in particular by lawyers and teachers. On January 16, 2017, the government banned two citizen movements, before imposing an Internet shutdown that ended, after 94 days of serious human rights violations, and more than 4 million euros in economic losses, According to the latest estimates by Internet Without Borders and Access now.
In the release welcoming the return of connectivity, Internet Without Borders expresses strong fears of a new Internet shutdown in the near future, and more globally fears for online freedoms of Cameroonian citizens, as the 2018 presidential election approaches.
In an interview with German international radio station Deutsche Welle, Cameroon Post and Telecommunications Minister, Minette Libom Likeng, announced that the Cameroonian government is equipped to monitor the activities of Internet users in the country:
“I will not disclose the methods here, but I will say that the government is organized because there is a whole agency that is equipped for that. Moreover, all our police forces have tracking and Control as in all countries. “
Internet Sans Frontières calls on the Cameroonian government to respect its international commitments: respect for individual rights and freedoms must always be the principle. Terrorism, breach of public order, can only exceptionally limit these freedoms, provided that the necessity and proportionality of the measures implemented are demonstrated and that a judicial authority intervenes to authorize the implementation of such measures.