MTN Cameroon Instructed to Block Twitter Text Messages
By: Ian Mansfield | 10th Mar 2011
Twitter’s SMS based messaging service has been banned on MTN Cameroon following an order from the Cameroonian government, Twitter announced yesterday over its own messaging platform. The company advised customers to contact MTN for more details.
There were reports that the country’s political opposition were Planning another series of protests against the long-serving President Paul Biya after earlier Egypt inspired protests were put down by the country’s military last month.
Like many countries facing political uprisings, the Cameroon government has been increasingly clamping down on internet services, especially ones accessible over mobile phones.
Cameroonian blogger Dibussi Tande told Foreign Policy magazine, if President Biya didn’t have a problem with Twitter activism before, he likely does now:
“Before today’s ban, very few Cameroonians were even aware that Twitter was available in Cameroon via SMS, and the majority of those who were did not even grasp its potential as a tool for political activism.”
As he also noted: “Obviously, the government has failed to learn the lesson from North Africa, particularly in Tunisia where the Ben Ali regime was still toppled even though it had banned all social media sites for years and had engaged in a sophisticated cyber-war with Tunisian digital activists.”
President Biya has been in power since 1982. In 2009, Biya was ranked #19 in Parade Magazine’s Top 20 list of The World’s Worst Dictators.