As if on Cue, Benin Shuts Down the Internet

When authorities turned off the country’s internet during parliamentary elections Sunday, they became the ninth African government to restrict access this year. As the norm, officials didn’t explain reasons for the outage, but the usual reason on the need for security and civil order is likely. Data from The NetBlocks Group, a nonpartisan organization that tracks global internet freedom and monitors outages, indicate the serious economic and social impacts of even a short outage. In Benin, a one-day shutdown costs the country $1.54 million, according to data compiled by NetBlocks and The Internet Society, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization focused on internet freedom. Benin’s outage lasted 15 hours and encompassed all internet services, including social media, according to NetBlocks. Press freedom and human rights groups, meanwhile, continue to sound alarms about the impact of internet outages on journalists’ abilities to gather and report news.


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