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India's Supreme Court orders review of Kashmir internet shutdown

Author: Manveena Suri, CNN, Published on: 10 January 2020

The Indian government has one week to review the suspension of internet services in Indian-administered Kashmir following an order from the Supreme Court... Jammu and Kashmir has not had internet access for more than 150 days... [T]he judgment directed that access to the internet is guaranteed under the Constitution as freedom to speech and expression; curtailing that right is unconstitutional if the government does it indefinitely and without legitimate reason... "freedom of press is impacted by the shutdown of communication and internet" [said Vrinda Grover, a lawyer representing one of the petitioners in the case]... [T]he ruling said, "we think it necessary to reiterate that complete broad suspension of telecom services, be it the Internet or otherwise, being a drastic measure, must be considered by the State only if 'necessary' and 'unavoidable.'"

The ongoing internet blackout in Indian-controlled Kashmir is now the longest ever in a democracy, according to Access Now, an advocacy group that tracks internet freedom. Only the autocratic governments of China and junta-era Myanmar have cut off access for longer. Kashmiris have been without internet access for so long that WhatsApp has reportedly begun deleting their accounts for inaction.

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Related companies: Whatsapp (part of Facebook)