The move by the government to shut down social media platforms in the country at the end of this month as students retake their final exams has received sharp criticism with Amnesty International terming it ‘ridiculous’.
Amnesty International deputy regional director for East Africa Seif Magango said it was wrong for the government to subject the whole country to a social media shut down ‘after failing its duty’.
“It is ridiculous that the government would consider shutting down social media communications for the entire country after failing in its duty to secure the content of exam papers,” said Magango.
Magango added the government ‘should instead explore ways to secure the integrity of the exams without resorting to regressive measures that would curtail access to information and freedom of expression’.
The remarks follow announcement Monday by Education Minister Abdullahi Barre that all social media platforms in the country will be shut down between May 27 and 31 when the form four students sit for new exams after the first one was cancelled Sunday.
Barre announced the cancellation of the exams Sunday night citing leakage and circulation in the social media.
The minister’s announcement sparked student demonstrations in Mogadishu and other parts of the country. Attempts by Barre to address the students yesterday failed after the students declined to be addressed.
Amnesty said the joint declaration by inter-governmental experts on freedom of expression in May 2015 stated that shutting down entire parts of communications systems, “can never be justified under human rights law.”