India leads with most internet shutdowns


KARACHI: For the fifth consecutive year in 2022, India led the world by imposing the most number of internet shutdowns, a new report has said.

The research, conducted by internet rights group Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition, documents 187 shutdowns in 2022.

According to the report released this week, India implemented 84 internet shutdowns in 2022.

The country was followed by Ukraine with 22 shutdowns imp­osed by the Russian military during its invasion. Iran stood third with 18 shutdowns.

Pakistan imposed one shutdown in May 2022 at the time when former prime minister Imran Khan was leading protests across the country after being ousted from the government.

The internet disruption in India was mostly in the held-Kashmir (49 times) including 16 back-to-back orders for blackouts in January and February 2022, the report added.

“[T]he proposed Draft Indian Telecommu­nica­tion Bill, which would empower central and state governments with unrestricted powers to impose shutdowns when necessary and expedient, signals the government’s intention to continue down this troublesome path,” the report noted.

In many countries, the internet was also shut down during conflicts, elections and even examinations.

The blackout imposed by the Ethiopian government in the restive Tigray region was the longest shutdown recorded by the coalition, lasting more than two