The tenants of communication houses, Cybercafes and even GSM operators, among whom Orange-Tigo, Vodacom, Airtel and Africel, recorded a huge loss of revenue during the 11 days of blocking the Internet and social networks: Facebook , WhatsApp, Imo, Twiter and Instagram at the beginning of December 19th. It has become practically a habit. The government, through the technical body ARPTC (the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Congo), has taken the initiative to cut the Internet and social networks to prevent the population from exchanging Images and videos of the macabre scenes of confrontations that are often seen in spectacle between the forces of the order and the population. The lifting of the ban on the Internet took place on Wednesday 28 December 2016.
Such a measure has produced many adverse economic consequences, especially for Internet service providers, but also other economic operators who use it to exchange financial data with their partners in the context of business through The DRC and abroad.
Judged anti-social and deprived of rights to information, the act was condemned by several non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This Coalition Rights for All, a platform bringing together NGOs, addressed a memo to mobile telephone operators on the Congolese market by comparing access to the Internet with vital human rights, Like the access to drinking water that should not be deprived of anybody.
According to these organizations, “the disruption of access to the Internet has the same negative impact as interrupting the supply of electricity or drinking water to the civilian population, an act condemned in international humanitarian law ”. Despite their call on operators in the telecommunications sector not to endorse this measure of “violation of the right of access to the Internet”, the measure had no effect. Those for whom the call was intended simply gave in to the pressure. The illegality of the injunction was denounced by the same NGO platform. There was a clear desire to disrupt the exchange of information on political protests related to the post-19 December 2016 period.
The population is doubly shaken in its daily life. It is faced with whims of all kinds imposed by the government or the telecom operators themselves. When these mobile operators unilaterally decided to suddenly increase the cost of the Internet, the population was abandoned to its sad fate without anyone being able to plead its case including the government. On the contrary, the latter and the telecom operators were blaming themselves for degeneration.