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State-mandated internet shutdowns are becoming more frequent as governments use these to quell dissent and silence critics. Can citizens push back against these shutdowns by taking their own states to court? Do countries in the global South have a legal framework to address and counter internet shutdowns?

“Dialling in the Law: A Comparative assessment of jurisprudence on internet shutdowns”, a report by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), through the CYRILLA initiative, pins down the literature to address these questions. Aayush Rathi and Arindrajit Basu have authored this report, with research assistance from Anoushka Soni.

The report outlines jurisprudence across the global South on the legality of internet shutdowns. It tackles the growing challenge of government-mandated disruptions of internet access around the world, often under the guise of safeguarding public order and upholding national security interests. Restriction of internet access has been used to quell dissent particularly during moments of intense political turmoil such as protests, anniversaries of key historical events, civil unrest and elections. Internet shutdowns have happened in countries supposedly governed by a democratic system and in countries with authoritarian regimes.