Are Internet shutdowns healthy for India?

Democratic governments must be accountable to the public and provide a rationale for disrupting Internet services in a timely manner. In the interest of transparency, all governments should document the reasons, time, alternatives considered, decision-making authorities and the rules under which the shutdowns were imposed and release the documents for public scrutiny. This is the way civil society can hold governments to the high standards of transparency and accountability that befits a democracy.

Indiscriminate Internet blockades are not likely to safeguard public order in today’s time and age. Indiscriminate shutdowns have high social and economic costs and are often ineffective. A proportionality and necessity test and cost-benefit analysis to determine the right course of action are essential at this juncture. Indian civil society needs to push for a transparent and accountable system which ensures better Internet governance.

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