We missed this earlier: Around May 13, 2023, Akola police of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra enforced an internet shutdown due to communal clashes related to ‘The Kerala Story’ movie, as per an Onmanorama report. As per news reports, a person was killed, 13 people were injured including two policemen and at least 132 people were detained during the violence. According to the police, the clash started because of a social media post about the film. Internet services were suspended in the area. While authorities said they were later restored, some residents said the disruption in mobile internet persisted until May 16. https://twitter.com/sachinsontakke/status/1658328416083660800 By May 20, the local police said they arrested two of the main accused in causing the riots. https://twitter.com/AkolaPolice/status/1659933133742145537 Why it matters: Suspension of internet services in case of civic unrest has become a default move for law enforcement agencies across the world. However, India tops the list of Access Now’s Keep It On project that ranks country’s use of such shutdowns. Typically, police suspend internet in case of a terror attack, due to state-level or national exams or to maintain public order. This is one of the more specific use cases where the police has suspended internet, and by extension free speech online, simply because of a post on a social media platform that allegedly contained hate speech. The police’s use of internet shutdown in this case, raises concerns about state-regulation on speech. Also Read: Here’s Why Rights Groups Are Concerned About Pakistan’s Indefinite Internet Shutdown Repeated Internet…
Maharashtra: Akola police suspend internet services due to The Kerala Story-related riots
Suspension of internet services in case of civic unrest has become a default move for law enforcement agencies across the world.
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