DRC may block social networks as Kabila mandate expires

KINSHASA - Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo plan to block social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp soon before President Joseph Kabila's mandate expires, four internet service providers said Thursday.

"The instructions of the government (are that) all social networks be blocked from 18:00 on Sunday December 18 until further notice," a representative of one ISP told AFP, asking not to be named.

Political tensions run high in the country, where Kabila's second and constitutionally final elected mandate ends on December 20, but no elections have been organised and the opposition accuses him of seeking to retain power.

Under a controversial ruling from the Constitutional Court, Kabila may remain in office beyond the end of his mandate.

ISP staff said they have not yet received a formal injunction from the authorities and have asked for detailed written notice of the move, which would hamper the organisation of public protests.

The government's plan was first raised on Tuesday at a meeting of the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPTC).

"The ARPTC verbally instructed us during the meeting to filter connections on social networks," one ISP official said, adding that "trials are likely to be carried out overnight Thursday to Friday".

Kabila's failure to step aside has led to protests in which dozens have been killed, while the European Union on Monday imposed travel bans and asset freezes on seven top DRC security officials because of "a disproportionate use of force".

Comments (1)

This is not the solution

aigle - 15 December 2016

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