Gambian Parliament Legislates to Curb Online Freedom

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Reports from the Africa review indicate that the lawmakers in Gambia have passed a law that may lead to serious compromise of online freedom for Gambians. The law was passed with the aim of curtailing individuals like reporters, activists on social media and bloggers who the government deems as going against the regime of the president Yahya Jammeh.

The law, which was brought in as an amendment to an existing law, seeks to curb the spread of false information against the government or civil servants, imposing a harsh 15 year sentence on any party found guilty of violating it. On the surface, the law looks innocent and well meaning but on deeper reflection, you realize that what exactly constitutes ‘false information’ is relative.

If the government claims that you have spread false information- and governments regularly deny blatant truths- then you will be punished, and that is the danger that this law poses. This law not only criminalizes free speech but also seriously violates the rights of citizens to speak up against oppressive regimes.

And do not for a minute think that Gambian problem only; governments the world over are devising ways through which to muffle voices which speak out against oppression. In the US, we have heard reports of massive spying and in other countries like China, Western websites are censored.

There are, honestly, very few governments, if any, that are not in a way or another violating the online liberties of citizens. It then remains that citizens will have to find ways through which to safeguard their freedoms online. While there are many ways that can offer privacy and anonymity online, none is more effective than VPN. With VPN, you are able to access geo-blocked content, change your IP address so that you are untraceable online and send data in cryptic form through secure tunnels.

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