“People don’t die on WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. People die on the streets when they clash with, whoever.”
We had almost 85 people at our #NAMApolicy event on Internet Shutdowns, where we got great detail on what people did when the Internet was banned. As Manish Adhikary, founder and Editor of Teesta Herald in Darjeeling said: the [100 day] ban was nothing less than a crime, adding that the situation didn’t call for a ban for that long a period, calling Internet bans a consequence of administrative feudalism. Students suffered, unable to apply for colleges, or even study in either Darjeeling or Kashmir, and the one comment that stood out was the impact that the Internet ban has on students, who aren’t able to communicate easily with their friends,and get frustrated over time. In Kashmir, there’s a sense that you can’t really rely on the Internet: you never know when it will work. Ecommerce and online businesses have suffered.
There’s something wrong with the way we’re approaching things, when our administrative response to the fear of misinformation spreading is to shut down all information flow.
We also had a surprise – unexpected, and not planned – when Ajay Data, founder of Data Infosys, connected us to Jaipur SP-SCRD Sharat Kaviraj, who gave the administrators response to taking such decisions – which they really don’t want to take. We got a global perspective on the need for transparency from ISPs and telecom operators on network shutdowns, from Rebecca MacKinnon and Bennett Freeman of GNI.
We’ll have more, in terms of videos and stories, next week. We’d like to thank all those who participated, for a really intense day of discussions, and we hope that this helps us all move things forward, with better understanding of the issues.
To get a sense of the depth of the discussions at #NAMA policy events, do check our coverage at #NAMAvoip & #NAMAfakenews. In case you’re interested in sponsoring our events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.