Internet shutdowns and the right to access in Sudan: A post-revolution perspective
20 September 2019
On 3 September, a Sudanese court ordered telecommunications companies Sudani and MTN to apologize to their customers for disrupting access to their networks at the behest of the military authorities in early June.
The shutdown, which went on for weeks, was the longest in Sudan. The Transitional Military Council, which at the time was the de-facto ruler of the country, said it ordered the internet blackout because of security concerns.
However, the blackout was an obvious attempt by the council to disrupt the sharing of footage and information pertaining to the dispersal of a sit-in on 3 June by security and military forces, calling for a civilian-led transitional government. More than 100 protesters were killed as a result of the crackdown on the sit-in.
Protesters and activists used their mobile phones to document and share the human rights violations and killings committed during the Khartoum massacre. The blackout greatly restricted Sudanese people’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information, and their right to assembly, since social media platforms and apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were widely used to organise protests.