The media houses say the ban denies Gabon of reliable and independent information. / Photo: AA

An internet blackout is still in force in Gabon with the government saying it is meant to avoid the spread of calls for violence and false information following presidential elections on Saturday.

The government cut off the internet on Saturday evening and put a curfew in place, citing the risk of violence, as voting drew to a close in the race between incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba and his main opponent, Albert Ondo Ossa.

A curfew was announced to come into effect beginning on Sunday from 9:00 p.m. local time to 6 a.m., according to the minister of communication, Rodrigue Mboumba Bissawou.

The government says the voting took place peacefully despite logistical "hiccups" with several polling stations in Libreville beginning the exercise at 1:00 p.m. instead of 9 a.m.

Media ban

The government has also banned French media outlets RFI and France 24, which they accused of "a lack of objectivity and balance in connection with the current general elections".

"The provisional ban on the broadcasting in Gabon of France 24, RFI, and TV5 Monde" was announced on Saturday.

The organisations have denied the accusations, which they have called "incomprehension."

In a statement on Sunday, RFI and France 24, said they regretted and were ''surprised by this provisional suspension, which lacks foundation," adding that it "deprives the Gabonese of two of their main sources of reliable and independent information".