Internet Restrictions Lifted in Guinea After Months of Suppression

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In a significant development, the Guinean authorities have lifted the internet access restrictions that were imposed three months ago, marking a crucial shift in the country’s digital landscape. The move comes amidst escalating social tensions and follows the surprising dissolution of the government by the military junta in power for the past two and a half years, which was announced earlier this week without clear reasons provided.

The restrictions, which had been justified by the authorities citing security concerns, were lifted overnight from Thursday to Friday. However, the decision was not officially announced, leaving many questions unanswered and stirring further speculation regarding the government’s motives.

Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, the communication director of “Tournons la Page Guinée,” expressed surprise at the sudden restoration of internet access. He criticized the clandestine manner in which the restrictions were both imposed and lifted, highlighting the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the authorities.

According to Sow, this clandestine approach underscores the government’s apparent intent to stifle dissent, as the internet blackout had inflicted significant socio-economic disruptions on the country. The cessation of digital economic activities, hindrance to remote learning for students, and the paralysis of numerous startups and media outlets are among the adverse effects caused by the prolonged internet blackout.

Moreover, the sentencing of Sékou Jamal Pendessa, the secretary-general of the Syndicat des professionnels de la presse de Guinée (SPPG), to six months in prison, with three months suspended, further highlights the challenges faced by press freedom advocates in the country. Pendessa’s incarceration, stemming from his advocacy against media censorship and internet restrictions, serves as a stark reminder of the precarious environment for journalists and activists in Guinea.

The decision to lift internet restrictions amid mounting social unrest, coupled with the upcoming indefinite general strike called for by the Guinean labor movement, raises questions about the government’s intentions. While some speculate that the move aims to mollify public discontent, the absence of official explanations leaves room for conjecture and skepticism.

As Guinea navigates through this period of uncertainty, the restoration of internet access signifies a potential step towards openness and dialogue. However, the lack of transparency surrounding the decision underscores the pressing need for accountability and respect for fundamental rights in the country.

Soukaina Sghir

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