DAKAR, 5 March 2021 – Access to social media platforms has been restored in Senegal, ending several hours of service disruption during which two TV stations were shutdown.
The service disruptions – online and on TV – are connected to violent street protests that followed the arrest Thursday in the capital, Dakar, of Senegal’s main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko.
The two television stations – Sen TV and Walf TV – were put off the air by the National Audiovisual Regulatory Council (CNRA) which accused them of focusing too much on the protests.
The CNRA said the two stations broadcasts images of riots in a loop.
Senegalese officials confirmed Friday that one person was shot dead in the riots.
Users of Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram and other social media platforms reported Friday that their service had been restored and that they could finally connect to their favorite channels.
Internet users reported Thursday that they were unable to share photos and videos on social media, according to Nedblocks.
Sonko, a member of parliament who placed third in Senegal’s last presidential elections, saw his immunity lifted last Friday to clear the way for him to face rape charges brought by an employee of a Dakar beauty salon.
Sonko has denied the accusations, alleging that the case is politically motivated.
The embattled MP has gone so far as to accuse Senegalese President Macky Sall of using the charges to prevent him from running in the next presidential election.
Some Senegalese opposition leaders were disqualified from running in the 2019 ballot for legal reasons.