41 rights' groups, including Access Now, Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights Watch, have asked the Indian government to restore 4G internet access in Jammu and Kashmir in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an open letter, the organisations said that the absence of 4G internet has hindered the work of health professionals, has prevented the public from getting information, and impeded the work of journalists, human rights defenders and others. The letter cites research showing that restrictions on 4G make video-conferencing "practically impossible to access and use effectively". The letter urgently appeals to the government to: Restore high-speed 4G internet access to full capacity to enable Jammu and Kashmir residents to be well-informed and to access crucial information; to ensure that journalists and human rights workers have the resources to do their work Lift all restrictions on the internet and telecommunication tools unconditionally and facilitate access to a free, open, and secure internet Work with ISPs and telcos to ensure a free, open, and secure internet in the union territory Implement the Supreme Court's recommendation to review the text and functioning of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules 2017, which allows for internet suspensions. The Supreme Court had observed that indefinite internet suspension orders under the rules are not permitted, and that orders can only be temporary. The court had also said that suspensions should be proportionate and should not extend beyond the required timeframe. The letter also states that doctors in the region have to wait…
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