Gambia govt ‘clarifies’ skype, viper ban
Contrary to reports by the local press and online publications that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has banned the use of Skype and Viber facilities, The Gambia govenrment has clarified that internet users can access these sites on their personal devices and not on cybercafes.
In an earlier statement by PURA, the regulator said in its bid to stop the massive loss of revenue to registered internet suppliers by unscrupulous individuals, internet cafes were banned from providing such services to users by charging for international calls.
A statement by the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure has described the claim as a complete misconception and called on users “to continue to enjoy Skype to reach their loved ones at home and abroad.”
According to the ministry, in a bid to protect consumers and the national interest, PURA have found it necessary to draw the attention of all operators of internet cafes of the criminal act that deprives registered internet service providers of revenue vital to their operations and to the revenue of the national treasury.
The media release added, “individuals can continue to use Skype or Viber on their personal devises in the enjoyment of the Gambia’s full integration into the ICT culture. The regulator and other concerned units of government are investigating these individuals and internet cafe owners in order to put in place measures to protect our young users from entrapments of online dating services which leave our vulnerable citizens to pornographic sites, paedophilia, child-trafficking and sex tourism”.
The ministry urged “all media whose publications have misunderstood this to do the right thing in service to their country and to their readership to re-read the PURA press release, publish retractions, and report correctly on the intervention by the national regulator to protect citizens and a fair business environment in The Gambia.”