CPJ joins call for Nigeria to ensure internet and social media services

AP NigeriaBlog2.14The committee to protect journalists (CPJ) have joined the call for Nigeria to ensure internet and social media services remain connected during elections

In early February, Nigeria's federal government denied rumours of plans to shut down the internet during upcoming elections, according to the privately owned Guardian Nigeria and Quartz news outlets.

Nigeria has two sets of elections scheduled in the coming weeks including federal elections on 16 February and state elections on 2 March.

The letter, addressed to Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice-chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, emphasised how internet disruptions inhibit journalists' ability to safely conduct reporting and run contrary to international law. It also highlighted additional social and economic costs of internet outages.

“The media is critical to this particular election and critical to people understanding both the (election's) processes and procedures,” Festus Okoye, national commissioner of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission.

Okoye also emphasised the importance of internet connectivity because the smart card readers used for voter identification are based on the internet. “Three networks--Glo, MTN, and Airtel--are powering them (the smart card readers), so if you jam the network there won't be any election...that's just the bottom line,” he said.

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