Islamabad: In 2020, India topped list of 29 countries that blocked access to the internet despite increased demand during COVID-19, while over the past year billions of people all over the world have relied heavily on internet connectivity to keep in touch with family and friends, learn online, work from home and get vital information about the pandemic.
Over the course of 2020, 29 countries intentionally shut down or slowed their internet communications at least 155 times, said a new report published by Access Now, a non-profit digital rights group.
“We are extremely concerned how government authorities are using internet shutdowns as a systemised tool to repress democratic expression, even in the middle of a global pandemic,” Raman Jit Singh Chima, senior international counsel and Asia Pacific policy director at Access Now said.
Authorities in India shut down the internet 109 times over the course of 2020, mostly in occupied Kashmir, which accounted for almost 90 percent of all internet shutdowns in India last year.
From January 2020 till February of this year, the internet in Kashmir was throttled to 2G, making life very difficult for many students in the state who had been moved to remote learning as a result of COVID-19.