Responding to reports that Somalia’s education minister has announced that social media may be shut down for five days from 27 to 31 May as one of the ways to stop cheating in the national secondary school exams, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Seif Magango said:
“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.
“They 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.”
On 13 May, Somalia’s Education Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre cancelled the national secondary examination which began on 11 May after discovering that exam papers had been leaked and were being freely sold to students. The minister said the exams would be retaken from 27 to 31 May. Students took to the streets on 14 May protesting the cancelation of exams.
A 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.”