by Ayele Addis Ambelu
According to the @Internet Society 2023 report, In just the first half of 2023, we’ve witnessed an alarming 35 instances of government-enforced Internet shutdowns. These actions, often framed as solutions to civil unrest, misinformation, or exam cheating, are rising globally.
The ramifications of Internet shutdowns are far-reaching—crippling economies, eroding societal trust, and infringing upon human rights, including the freedom of the press. Journalists are at the forefront of exposing these issues and advocating for change.
It is essential to ensure that journalists are equipped with both policy understanding and technical know-how on reporting Internet shutdowns.
Internet users in #Amhara, Ethiopia, have been the hardest hit by Internet disruptions, with popular social media and messaging services (TikTok, Facebook, Telegram, YouTube) being blocked nationally since 9 February amid religious tensions and calls for anti-government protests. At a regional level, many of the 40 million people living in Ethiopia’s Amhara region continue to live through the longest-running Internet disruption and shutdown, now well over 960 days long.
According to the Internet Society 2023 report, It is increasingly common for governments to shut down the Internet on a national or sub-national level to solve specific problems, including controlling civil unrest, stemming the flow of misinformation, or preventing cheating on national exams.
As of the end of June 2023, governments and other actors across 15 countries have intentionally disrupted Internet connectivity or blocked access to specific Internet services to their citizens. Of the 35 instances Pulse has tracked in the first six months of the year, including four that continued from last year, 19 have been nationwide disruptions lasting from a couple of hours to a week, culminating in nearly 1,000 days of disruptions.
An Internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of Internet-based communications, making them inaccessible or unavailable for a specific population, location, or type of access. It is often a state’s attempt to control the flow of information within a region by preventing people from accessing the global Internet. Internet shutdowns differ from application-level or content censorship/blocking, where Internet connectivity is available, but access to selected websites or applications is limited.
Shutdowns are a disproportional reaction that often only hides – instead of solving – a perceived problem and can result in significant collateral damage.
@compile from internet society 2023 report