Lawyers challenge Chad social media blackout


Lawyers have gone to court in Chad to challenge a social media shutdown that has prevented mobile phone user from using apps and messaging services since March.
They want the two main mobile operators, Airtel and Tigo, to restore access to platforms including Whats App, Messenger, Facebook, Viber and Twitter.
No reason has been given for the shutdown.
The blackout was imposed after a controversial national conference which recommended changes to the constitution which would allow President Idriss Deby to remain in power until 2033.
He has been president since 1990.
Access to social media was also suspended in Chad for nearly six months around the April 2016 presidential election. The government said the outage was due to technical problems.
Maitre Frédéric Daïnonet, president of the lawyers collective that filed the complaint Saturday, told BBC Afrique the ongoing blackout violates consumers’ rights.
A court in N’Djamena is expected to begin hearing on the matter on 28 August.
An official from the Authority for the Regulation of Electronic Communications and the Post (ARCEP), a state agency, has not responded to BBC’s calls for comment on the legal action.
Some users in Chad have been able to access social media networks via VPN, though that has meant doubling, even tripling, what they spend for their daily internet connection.
Mobile data is already pricey in Chad, with 1 GB costing $21 (£16).

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