The Case Against Internet Shutdowns — Episode 3 of The Impact

Hosted by Megha Bahree
Edited by Manasi Nene

As the internet began to spin its web across the subcontinent, at the hands of the State, India began to simultaneously witness a different kind of disruption: internet shutdowns. There have been 553 internet shutdowns ordered by governments since 2012, whether of mobile internet or broadband services. We’ve already registered a shutdown barely one month into 2022, and in Jammu and Kashmir alone, a staggering 319 shutdowns have taken place in recent years. Of these, the longest shutdown lasted for 552 days.

Why does the government shut down internet services? Why do these shutdowns seem more likely to happen in specific parts of the country? What do they have to do with maintaining ‘security’? And, in a rapidly digitising India, what are the real impacts of living without the internet on human lives?

We explore these answers and more in the latest series of The Impact, our new video series created in collaboration with Esya Centre examining how technology impacts Indian society. Megha Bahree, journalist and Fellow at Esya Centre, speaks to Shehlat Maknoon Wani, a journalist based in Kashmir, and Ranju Dodum, a journalist based in Arunachal Pradesh, to uncover how internet shutdowns impact humans and their rights in regions of conflict.

Manasi is a writer, filmmaker, and musician who is keen on exploring issues of education, technology and community mental health. She has also been active in the beatboxing and slam poetry communities of India. Off-the-clock, she can be found cycling, daydreaming, or daydreaming about cycling. Manasi works as The Bastion's Multimedia Associate.
Megha is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience reporting stories from across the Indian subcontinent, parts of Asia, and the US. She’s currently based in New Delhi as a freelancer where she writes about business, technology, and policy and their impact on society for a range of publications. She also researches on these topics as a Fellow at the Esya Centre.

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