23 December 2017
No Access, No Development: IFLA Calls for an End to Internet Shutdowns in Cameroon
On 22 December 2017, the IFLA Executive Committee approved the following statement:
In line with its statement of 22 August 2017, IFLA deeply regrets the ongoing shutdown of the Internet in certain regions of Cameroon.
The Internet and digital technologies have not only made free expression, access to information and communication easier – they have become indispensable. Those left on the wrong side of the digital divide risk seeing the distance between them and the rest grow. They are left with fewer chances to learn, find work, trade, and build better lives for themselves and their communities.
Policy-makers, economists and human rights experts have all recognised the importance of giving everyone the possibility to make use of the Internet. There are major practical efforts around the world to bring everyone online. Libraries play a core role in this by providing public access, and the support needed to help users realise the Internet’s potential.
It is therefore contrary to the declared intent of governments, sustainable economic development, and human rights to shut down the Internet, in all but the most extreme circumstances. Denying access prevents libraries from building more literate, informed and participatory societies. It holds back growth, damages prospects, and leaves friends and families unable to communicate. It weakens development, and so progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
IFLA therefore calls on all actors in Cameroon to turn the Internet back on, throughout the country.