News Brief

Benin Enforced an Internet Shutdown on the Same Day as Uncontested Elections

As a result, voter turnout was low Sunday in a country with 5 million registered voters.

Benin held parliamentary elections Sunday leaving citizens without access to opposition candidates and the internet.

Social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as Spacetel—Benin's leading internet provider—was shut down according to NetBlocks (a digital monitoring organization), Quartz Africa reports. VPNs were also blocked.

This makes Benin the latest African country alongside Sudan, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo to restrict internet access ahead of pertinent elections, protests and dissent—which in turn impacts the democratic process the country is known to respect.


François Patuel, Amnesty International's West Africa researcher, has called on Benin authorities to lift the restrictions so that citizens can freely express their opinions on the elections.

"The decision to shut down access to the Internet and social media on an election day is a blunt violation of the right to freedom of expression," he says in a statement. "It is effectively silencing human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers who are monitoring contested parliamentary elections without opposition candidates."

The country's 5 million registered voters were only given two options to vote for on the ballot—two parties that have declared allegiance to President Patrice Talon. These parties also met the "requirements" to be included in the elections: pay a fee of about $424,000, according to BBC.

"All indications are...from election observers that voter turnout appears to be low. That's in huge contrast to 5 years ago, when people had 20 parties to choose from—now, they have two to choose from," Al Jazeera's Ama Boateng says from Cotonou in this video report. "Opposition parties have asked their supporters to stay at home, and that could be one of the reasons why we're seeing such low numbers."

Here Are The Most Streamed African Songs, Albums and Artists on Apple Music

Nasty C is the most streamed South African artist on Apple Music.

Nasty C has been the most streamed South African artist on Apple Music in the last four years. His sophomore album Strings and Bling is also the most streamed South African and African album on the streaming platform in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is according to a newly released set of list of the most streamed artists, songs, playlists and albums on the platform.

The list of top South African artists on Apple Music also includes the likes of Joyous Celebration, AKA, Sjava, Cassper Nyovest and a few more.

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Listen to Saul Williams' New Album 'Encrypted & Vulnerable'

The score for his directorial musical debut, Neptune Frost, which is based on Williams' tale about hackers living in a Burundian village made up of recycled computer parts.

Saul Williams is back with his new album, Encrypted & Vulnerable.

The 13-track album, which is part of his MartyrLoserKing project, is described by Williams as his first "spoken word" album. It was entirely self-produced, mixed by by Gonjasufi and features the likes of Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), My Brightest Diamond, Christian Scott (Atoms For Peace) and more.

Encrypted & Vulnerable is also the score for Saul Wililams' directorial musical debut, Neptune Frost, which is based on Williams' tale about hackers living in a Burundian village made up of recycled computer parts.

"Encrypted & Vulnerable is simultaneously a personal and intimately optimistic takedown on struggle, defiance, awareness, aloneness, and a takedown of heteronormative capitalistic patriarchal authoritarian politics in topics ranging from love, technology, religion, war, to migration," Williams mentions.

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Still from YouTube

Simi and Adekunle Gold are the Absolute Cutest In Their New Music Video 'By You'

The couple are giving us all the feels in their latest music video.

Simi and Adekunle Gold continue their streak of duets with their latest "By You," from the former's latest album Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1.

On the new track, the couple once again deliver loving lyrics and sweet melodies, sharing an accompanying video highlighting their bond. The video behind with what looks like personal footage from the company, later following them around as they adventure across Los Angeles, playfully driving around and even making a stop at the LA staple, Randy's Donuts.

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