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Frequent Internet shutdowns continue into 2023

In June, a joint report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) highlighted India's continued use of “arbitrary internet shutdowns,” which disproportionately affect impoverished communities. The report highlights that "Since 2018, India has shut down the internet more than any other country in the world,” a finding further corroborated by Access Now's 2022 report. The majority of shutdowns have occurred in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, with the latest example of a months-long internet blackout occurring in the state of Manipur amid an outbreak of ethnic violence. According to HRW and IFF, many of the "procedural safeguards" established by the Supreme Court in 2020 to regulate internet shutdowns continue to be ignored by authorities. The government is yet to comment on the report findings, although Indian authorities have issued statements on the internet shutdown in Manipur, citing that the bans are required to prevent the spread of disinformation, mobilization of mobs, as well as quell the violence.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Hindustan Times, Economic Times, Nikkei Asia, Access Now, The Economic Times

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