But this certainly isn’t the first time that India, the world’s largest democracy, has resorted to shutting down the Internet when things heat up. In fact, India shuts down the Internet more frequently than any other country in the world according to multiple reports such as The New York Times and VICE News:
In 2019, when people protested a controversial new citizenship law, state authorities in northeast India shut down the Internet. Then when the Indian government revoked the autonomy of Kashmir, an Internet shutdown was also imposed – at the time, said to be the longest in any democracy. In India, Internet shutdowns are also used, weirdly enough, to prevent students from cheating on exams.
India is hardly alone in its willingness to press the ‘off’ button though. Iran did it when faced with protests over fuel prices. Governments in Africa are doing it regularly and closer to home, culprits include Indonesia and Myanmar. But there is a price – internet shutdowns cost India US$2.8 billion (~RM11.3 billion) in 2020, according to one estimate.
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