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India: UN experts urge govt. to restore internet & social media networks

Author: Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression & Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on HRDs, Published on: 17 May 2017

"India must restore internet and social media networks in Jammu and Kashmir, say UN rights experts", 11 May 2017

India must immediately end its ban on social media networks and on mobile internet services in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and guarantee freedom of expression for citizens, say two United Nations human rights experts. The ban was imposed on 17 April following widespread student demonstrations. According to information made public through media reports and individuals in Kashmir, the Government blocked access to 22 websites and applications, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, and 3G and 4G data services for mobile phones and other devices were suspended.“The scope of these restrictions has a significantly disproportionate impact on the fundamental rights of everyone in Kashmir, undermining the Government’s stated aim of preventing dissemination of information that could lead to violence,” the experts said...The experts noted that in 2016 the Human Rights Council, the central human rights body in the UN system, condemned such online disruptions and called upon States to avoid such shutdowns... “We call on the Indian authorities to guarantee freedom of expression in Jammu and Kashmir and to seek a solution for the social and political conflicts of the region through an open, transparent and democratic dialogue,” the experts concluded.

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