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Internet Shutdowns On The Rise Worldwide, Says Report

An overview of global internet shutdowns in 2022, Updated on Feb 28 2023 (Source: accessnow.org)

From the Middle East to South Asia to Africa, shutdowns are becoming a norm of authoritarianism—an accepted means of silencing criticism, stifling dissent, and controlling the population. Governments are increasingly using digital tools to surveil, censor, and manipulate information, as well as amplify their own propaganda. With the help of internet shutdowns, governments and other actors can create a digital blackout, depriving people of access to crucial information, communication, and other online services.

A new report released by Access Now, a digital rights organization, has found that internet shutdowns are on the rise, with 35 countries across the world having imposed shutdowns in 2022 alone. The report found that India had the highest number of shutdowns, with 84 recorded in the year. This is the fifth consecutive year that India has held the top spot.

The report also found that in many countries, internet shutdowns have been implemented during protests, active conflict, school examinations, elections, and periods of political instability. Such shutdowns are meant to control and silence voices, and often provide cover for perpetrators to commit human rights abuses with impunity.

Furthermore, the report found that Russia had implemented 22 shutdowns during the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and Myanmar military targeted areas where coup resistance was strongest.

The Iranian regime responded to protests sparked by the death of 22-year old Mahsa (Jina) Amini by imposing 18 shutdowns.

The report highlights the need for governments worldwide to take the necessary steps to ensure that internet access remains available and unrestricted, especially during times of crisis and conflict, in order to protect the right to freedom of expression and access to information.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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