Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is regarded by Freedom House as partly free vis-a-vis press freedom. The country of approximately 24 million people has an Internet penetration rate of 21.0%, with a legal environment score of 14/30, a political environment score of 19/40, and an economic environment score of 18/30. The total freedom of the press score is 51/100.
In 2016, the National Press Council (CNP) continued its efforts in suspending material related to publications of false information and complaints of unprofessional conduct. While moves are afoot to award regulatory approval and licensing to multiplex operators and TV stations, government influence remains high.
Over the past several years, the media environment has enjoyed greater freedoms in Côte d'Ivoire under the current President Alassane Ouattara. Free media coverage of the election process was permitted, yet government-run news organizations still dominate. While government-sanctioned censorship has lessened substantially since the previous administration, there is still a risk of detention, arrest, incarceration, and extralegal attacks vis-a-vis journalistic integrity.
While various draft pieces of legislation have been presented to decriminalize the detention and imprisonment of journalists, these issues remain under debate. The country's leading print regulator, CNP routinely slaps sanctions on journalists and media houses for publishing false information. Political affiliations have been cited as one of many reasons for government bodies condemning ‘Fake News’ in the country.
An atmosphere of distrust remains in Côte d'Ivoire, particularly with politically-motivated matters relating to the previous president and his supporters. As a case in point, Donatien Kautcha and the editor Laurent Despas of Koaci were detained amid a publishing allegation scandal.
VPN Usage Increasing in Côte d'Ivoire
It should be pointed out that VPN usage is fully legal in Ivory Coast. The government has not banned the use of virtual private networks to access the Internet in this West African nation. With a reputable VPN service, Ivorians can easily watch their favorite TV shows online in any country, and freely use chat applications like Skype or FaceTime. VPNs also secure all online connections with full encryption protocols and protect against third-party snooping, including invasive government practices. VPNs provide users with anonymous connections for business and personal use.
Amnesty.org recently published a report titled Côte d'Ivoire: A Fragile Human Rights Situation. The Amnesty International West Africa researcher, François Patuel was quoted as saying, ‘The Ivorian authorities use of repressive laws amid a crackdown on the right to freedom of expression has resulted in the arbitrary detention of scores of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights.’ In the report, some 17 cases of ‘arbitrary detention’ of journalists in Côte d'Ivoire, including bloggers have occurred over the past 5 years.
Newspapers are on the receiving end of substantial fines and suspensions from the National Council of the Press. Harassment and detention are common occurrences when it comes to the expression of contrarian views and opinions. This is particularly true of bloggers, journalists, and political opponents of the president.
For these reasons, VPN usage has grown dramatically. People do not feel safe using their ISPs to express their opinions online in blogs, forums, and editorials. VPNs anonymize online communications and protect the privacy, security, and integrity of users. The top 5 VPNs for Côte d'Ivoire currently include:
ExpressVPN routinely ranks as the best VPN service in the world. This provider features 3,000+ VPN servers located across 160+ VPN locations, in 94 countries. While the are no server locations in Côte d'Ivoire, users can easily access other Middle East and Africa server locations, including South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, and Israel. Various protocols are supported, including PPTP, IKEV2, IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, and OpenVPN. ExpressVPN is fully compatible with routers, Linux, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Amazon Kindle Fire, Mac, and Windows devices. With ExpressVPN, Ivorian users get to enjoy guaranteed privacy and anonymity, unlimited bandwidth, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN often ranks atop the pile in terms of the most secure, trusted, and reputable VPN services in the world. It currently features 5,796 servers across 60 countries. Users get to enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee, with maximum safety features in place to prevent intrusive practices by hackers, government agencies, and third parties.
Obfuscated servers, P2P streaming, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, and dedicated IP connections are common with NordVPN. There are 117 servers across Africa, the Middle East, and India, with obfuscated connections available in Egypt, and P2P services in South Africa. Côte d'Ivoire users will easily be able to connect to NordVPN through any of the global dedicated IP servers, enjoy unlimited bandwidth connectivity, and onion over VPN for double security.
CyberGhost VPN is among the most highly ranked VPN services. It features 3900 servers globally, connections on up to 7 devices simultaneously, and around-the-clock live support for users. It is affordably priced, available in French, and offers competitive options on contracts for 1 month, 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years. This service comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN is compatible with Windows PC, Mac, iMac, MacBooks, iPhone, iPad devices, Android smartphones and tablets, Google Chrome, Amazon Fire Stick & TV, Android TV, and others. Among the many benefits of using CyberGhost for Ivorians are Facebook VPN, and unblocked websites. Users can stream sports, unblock Netflix, protect their digital identity, and enjoy encrypted Wi-Fi connections.
SaferVPN guarantees unrestricted Internet accessibility. Users enjoy fully secure Internet browsing, with no threat of communications interception by government agencies, snoopers, or cybercriminals. By using this VPN service, all of your personal information and your location will be hidden from websites and third parties so that they cannot track you. SaferVPN also allows Côte d'Ivoire residents to access any blocked sites, with no restrictions on any content, anywhere in the world. This service is fully compatible with Windows, Apple, Google Android, iOS, Chromebook, routers, and Mozilla Firefox.
VyperVPN is a virtual private network which is trusted by millions of customers around the world. Among its many benefits include the combating of censorship so that government authorities cannot restrict your online activity. Other pros include unlimited streaming of movies, video clips, music, and sports, and guaranteed privacy protection with an Internet kill switch which instantly cuts the connection in the event of a disconnect.
VyperVPN also owns all of the servers on its network, meaning that you have guaranteed reliability and connectivity from anywhere in the world. Access to 200,000+ IP addresses is available to users across 70 countries. VyperVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to users and is affordably priced. Services are also available in Francais.
To quote François Patuel, ‘To prevent further violence in the context of the forthcoming election, the authorities must live up to the commitment of addressing past human rights violations including by taking immediate action to bring suspected perpetrators to justice in field trials.’ Government censorship comes with a heavy hand in Côte d'Ivoire. Arbitrary arrests, detentions, and fines continue against people expressing views which the authorities take issue with. A VPN is the surest way to protect the integrity of your online communications, and your person from government overreach.