Human Rights Watch raps India for ’20 Internet Shutdowns in 2017′

India has received an earful from the Human Rights Watch, who in its latest file stated the nation has close down the net in diverse regions 20 times inside the first five months of this year, and that four of those blackouts have taken area this month, all in states where violent protests occurred.

The document highlights a drastic leap from 2016, while 31 shutdowns had been recorded in overall, and a good extra boom due to the fact that 2012, which noticed only 3 shutdowns.

“State governments have imposed 20 internet shutdowns to date in 2017, including by means of 4 states in June. Shutdowns in reaction to campaigns on social media and cellular mass messaging packages spreading fake and even incendiary records have frequently been disproportionate. The authorities have didn’t observe felony tactics, undermined stated targets of preventing rumors or panic, and ordered unnecessary shutdowns including to prevent cheating in examinations,” the document said.

Asserting that arbitrary and overbroad internet shutdowns violate India’s obligations under international human rights law, the HRW report highlighted how in July 2016, the UN Human Rights Council surpassed a resolution condemning measures through countries to deliberately prevent or disrupt online get right of entry to and facts, and called without cost speech protections under articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

A record with the aid of the Washington, DC-based Brookings Institute estimated that India misplaced over US$968 million among July 2015 and June 2016 because of internet shutdowns.

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The HRW stated out the following current internet shutdowns in its report:

. On June 5, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led authorities in Maharashtra state suspended mobile internet services in Nashik district for some hours after protests by using farmers became violent.

. On June 6, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh suspended net offerings in six districts following farmers’ protests for higher prices for their produce.

. On June 7, the People?S Democratic Party-led government in Jammu and Kashmir kingdom suspended mobile net offerings inside the Kashmir valley after the killing of a civilian through security forces. This turned into the 5th time the national government had suspended the cellular internet or broadband services in 2017 in a questionable try to prevent rumors from fueling violent clashes between government forces and Avenue protesters.

. On June eight, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh state shut down internet offerings for 2 days in Saharanpur district after the government arrested a Dalit chief following violent clashes between Dalits and members of a dominant caste. The authorities had additionally quickly shut down cellular internet offerings inside the district two weeks in advance.

In the case of the recent net ban in Jammu and Kashmir, the government stated at the time that the ban became vital because social media offerings have been ‘being misused with the aid of anti-national and anti-social factors.”

“Indian authorities’ issues over the misuse of the net and social media need to no longer be the default choice to prevent social unrest. The loss of transparency and failure to provide an explanation for these shutdowns handiest further the perception that they’re meant to suppress nonviolent reporting and criticism of the government” stated Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director.

Advising that instead of fully shutting down networks, authorities can use social media to deter violence and repair public order, the document noted an instance from September 2016, whilst riots broke out in Bengaluru metropolis, and a social media team of the police used Twitter to ship out everyday bulletins on the law and order situation, counter rumors, and solution queries from concerned citizens.

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