Abidjan, January 7, 2019--
Gabon's government on Monday morning shut down the internet and broadcasting services following an attempted coup against President Ali Bongo, according to digital rights groups Netblocks, and Internet Without Borders, news reports, and local journalists and civil society organizations with whom the Committee to Protect Journalists spoke.
"Shutting down the internet and broadcasting services during times of crisis makes it impossible for journalists to carry out their work efficiently and safely. Citizens are robbed of access to the reliable information that they need to make decisions," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal from New York. "We call on authorities in Gabon to immediately and fully restore access to the internet and lift all restrictions on broadcasting."
According to research by Internet Without Borders, internet traffic from Gabon fell sharply at around 8:00 a.m. local time, indicating the beginning of an outage. Eric Mbog Matassi, a local journalist, told CPJ that the internet remained shut down on Monday evening. Radio and television services had yet to be restored by late Monday, Matassi and Georges Mpaga, the spokesperson for the local civil society organization Le Réseau des organisations libres de la société civile pour la bonne gouvernance au Gabon, told CPJ.