Text messaging banned in Central African Republic

The use of SMS text messages has been banned in the Central African Republic (CAR), and all messages are being actively blocked. The ban was introduced several days ago, but was not immediately picked up by international news agencies. 

According to Agence France-Presse, text messaging is now considered a security threat, following a wave of violence in the nation's capital Bangui, along with efforts to co-ordinate a large-scale general strike - both of which are believed to have been organised via SMS. The decision to remove all public access to SMS was reportedly made by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke. 

A government insider told AFP that the bar was likely to last "for several days", but in a letter to mobile carriers earlier this week, the CAR's telecommunications ministry said that "the use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice", suggesting that it could potentially last longer. Those attempting to send text messages there remain unable to do so, receive the error message "SMS not allowed" if they try.

As VICE News reports, the CAR has seen fierce violence in recent days, including the destruction of a mosque by Christian youths, apparently in retaliation for a grenade inside a Catholic Church which killed at least 15 people. Around 7,000 international peacekeeping troops remain stationed in the country, amid ongoing instability and continuing violence. 

Source: AFP (Yahoo News) | upper image via BizTechAfrica; lower image via United Nations MINUSCA

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22 Comments

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Wow. Whatever though if they want to do so let them do so. The only thing that can come out of this w western influence is just more bull

You can bet other governments are watching closely...if for nothing else, than to see how effective it is. Only one way to deal with tyranny.

Well, that's a good idea right there! That will no doubt solve everything that's wrong with the people down there.

Sucks to be them. However I wish our government could implement something like this in some public places. I was parked waiting for my daughter to get out of school. A high school girl smacked right into my car because she had her down while texting. It was so loud that it sounded as though I hit her. I rolled the window up and LOL!

This is what you have to say in relation to this article? Something about a rich, spoiled high school girl texting and driving?

Yes, because it relates to banning the use of texting. Now, as I scan the thread, I don't see how you've contributed to the article. See how it works?

So, you're saying you want the government to block cell phone usage near some public places like schools? That would have done wonders for Columbine!

Askew_ said,
So, you're saying you want the government to block cell phone usage near some public places like schools? That would have done wonders for Columbine!
Thats an excellent point.

Askew_ said,
So, you're saying you want the government to block cell phone usage near some public places like schools? That would have done wonders for Columbine!

Cell phones weren't really mainstream in 1999 and kids shouldn't have cell phones at school anyway. There are these amazing things called land lines that everyone used to have that could be used in emergencies.

Stokkolm said,

Cell phones weren't really mainstream in 1999 and kids shouldn't have cell phones at school anyway. There are these amazing things called land lines that everyone used to have that could be used in emergencies.
An even better point. In the early 90's when I was in high school, beepers/pagers were the big thing.

Stokkolm said,

Cell phones weren't really mainstream in 1999 and kids shouldn't have cell phones at school anyway. There are these amazing things called land lines that everyone used to have that could be used in emergencies.

Yes, but I remember hearing how the cops were first notified by students dialing 911, which as a result US schools began allowing cell phones at schools (though not allowed to use them). Cell phones may not have been that big back then, but kids had them. And land lines? how much of a delay is there from going to a land line vs pulling out a cell phone and calling 911, it could cost a life or two.

There's a huge difference between having the government block the capability and having rules for people not to use them except in emergencies.

The police officer assigned to the school was the first one to hear about it and respond and he was notified by a janitor over the school hand held radios. I was in 8th grade when that happened and was not allowed to have a cell phone at school all the way through graduating in 2003. They have land lines in every class room, there isn't much of a delay and they are more of a distraction than they are worth. It's not like there is a constant fear that there is going to be a school shooting even though the media may paint it that way.

Stokkolm said,
...

I am by no means saying they aren't a distraction, but having the government the ability to make a cell phone have no ability to make calls or send texts in public areas is not the right way to handle the issue, it's a form of control and censorship.

I agree with you there, the government shouldn't be telling us what we can or can't do or what is or isn't good for us on any issue that doesn't physically harm people around us.

The government does not need to get in the business of regulating of where we can communicate. That's a total overreach and I'm glad I live in America where people ideally expect more freedom, not less.

So in your situation, a person sitting on a bench on a sidewalk next to the parking lot waiting for his/her ride wouldn't be able to send messages to anyone? Maybe it's a matter of education and parenting (though it should be common sense).