Chadian civil society groups are leading the crusade and the demand for the government of Chad to restore access to social media in the country.
The barn was slapped on the people over a year ago when government authorities cut of social media access. The decision was reached by the government when realized Mr. Derby’s critics had begun mobilizing and forming “clicks” just after the last presidential elections held in 2016.
The efforts of the leaders of the mobilization proved effective and anti-government protests were been organized via the power of social media. Upon realizing the threat posed by the internet, the government blocked access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and others. The ban has been in full force since then and the demonstrations reduced gradually till date. The band simply means Chadians cannot enjoy Five trending apps every smartphone user must have.
The restriction has affected business in general and the works of activists who deploy their marketing via social media. A very important and well-known blogger in Chad, Deuh’b Emmanuel in an interview revealed to the BBC that, the absence of Facebook and access to all the other social media platforms is synonymous to prison as far as his work as a blogger was concerned.
How are the Chadians Accessing the internet now?
As the saying goes “Men have learned to shoot without missing their mark and I have learned to fly without perching on a twig.”
Some citizens in Chad have been able to get around the ban placed on the country by the use of internet proxies Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to access the internet. This simply means they change their IP address to other countries without the ban and access social media. The impact of the ban affects less than 5% of the Chadian population because just a few of the people really access the internet according to Internet World Statistics.
Whiles the activist have found their voices and are calling for the restoration of the social media, the government continues top tight-lipped on the matter. The fact that the government believes the social media is a serious threat, chances are slim even if they want to restore it. Efforts of some lawyers in 2018 to secure an order from the courts to compel the government to restore social media to the people did not materialize.
Their effort to get the court to overturn the decision of the government was dismissed on grounds of security of the nation. The group is burnt on taking the matter to international authorities hoping their appeal would be granted in the not far future.
At a time when the world is moving so fast and is powered by the internet and the use of social media, the Chadians are stack in the middle somewhere without the social media for business, and other very important social usages enjoyed by all internet users across the world.
Benefits of social media that Chadians have been denied
The use of social media has numerous benefits which the Chadian people are missing as a result of the ban.
- It helps among other things to connect people anywhere around the world no matter their location. The presence of internet access and a phone or any electronic gadget that can provide the service helps to enjoy it. This way people connect and share their thoughts.
- It also helps educate people. Students and teachers can use it as a virtual classroom or for disseminating important information to all students instantly making it cheaper and faster.
- Professionals and experts in varied fields can provide valuable education online via social media. A typical example is a watch party on Facebook People can even use it to educate themselves with ease.
- Social media helps update users on the go with information and breaking news as and when they come in.
- Businesses use this powerful medium to advertise their products, reach out to customers and do brisk business on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter just a few to mention.
- Non-Governmental Organizational and other Civil Society Organizations use social media to promote welfare activities, help raise or get donations for the needy in society.
- Government and its agencies also need social media to communicate with the citizenry, help fight crime and to be in touch with the country.
These and many more benefits have eluded the Chadians and the government for the past one year.