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Free Expression

Network Shutdowns

As information and communication technologies play a growing role in social, political, and economic life, there has been a disturbing trend of governments disrupting ICT services to calm unrest or thwart perceived threats. Network shutdowns and slowdowns constrain citizens’ ability to express themselves and access information, raising significant concerns about human rights. Shutdowns have a negative impact on economic activity and may impair public safety. Governments must avoid ordering shutdowns and engage in dialogue to promote constructive norms around ICT service continuity. This timeline explores some case studies of government imposed network disruptions.