Internet shutdowns ‘not justified’ in Covid-19 outbreak, according to UN expert & human rights groups

Author: Rina Chandran & Emeline Wuilbercq, Reuters, Published on: 23 March 2020

Internet shutdowns cannot be justified at a time when access to information is critical to containing the deadly coronavirus pandemic, human rights groups have warned... “Internet access is critical at a time of crisis,” David Kaye, United Nations special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said in a statement.  “Especially at a time of emergency, broad restrictions on access to the internet cannot be justified on public order or national security grounds.”

... Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International in India, said access to information was a crucial part of the right to health. An inability to access information “can heighten the sense of helplessness, anger and frustration, undermine the public health response, put the health of others at risk, and may constitute human rights violations,” he said. Global digital rights group Access Now this week called on the governments of Ethiopia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and India to end “all deliberate interference with the right to access and share information” about the epidemic.

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