J&K is the world’s most censorship-intensive internet region: report

Led by India, and Jammu and Kashmir in particular, Asia suffered the most internet censorship shutdowns in the first six months of the year, according to a report on Thursday.

Internet shutdowns and restrictions were recorded in 10 countries – 85% coming from India, particularly Jammu and Kashmir – making Asia the most intensive region for internet censorship

Asia also led in terms of social media disruption over a seven-year period in the first half of 2022, according to cybersecurity firm Surfshark.

Of 72 instances of internet disruption in 2022, social media platforms were targeted six times: twice in Europe and Africa, and once in Asia and South America.

Despite a decrease in cases, new internet disruptions have affected more citizens – 1.89 billion compared to 1.54 billion in the last six months of 2021.

Globally, internet restriction cases decreased by 14% in the first half, from 84 in the second half of 2021 to 72 this year.

“We are seeing a positive trend in cases of internet restriction falling this semester. Nevertheless, the number of countries using internet shutdowns as a weapon to silence citizens’ unrest remains worrying,” said Agneska Sablovskaja, principal researcher at Surfshark.

“Most cases are national or local in scope where the internet is slowed down or completely shut down, leaving its residents without most of their means of communication,” Sablovskaja said in a statement.

During the first half of 2022, Surfshark recorded 66 internet outages in six countries and territories: Burkina Faso, India (Jammu & Kashmir), Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Sudan.

Internet has been cut locally in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan.

In comparison, three countries (Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, and Sudan) have chosen to reduce internet connections nationwide, even though this cripples the economy the most.

“The slight decrease in internet shutdowns seen nationwide in early 2022 follows an unprecedented period of internet addiction during the pandemic,” said Alp Toker, CEO of NetBlocks, the global monitoring organization of internet.

Research shows that cases of social media censorship have spread to every continent this year.

According to the report, 5.7 billion people in 76 countries have been deprived of internet access since 2015.

Currently, 16 of the 196 countries and territories analyzed restrict access to social media or voice-over-IP (VOIP) services.

Most of the current restrictions (12) are recorded in Asian countries, according to the report.

(IANS input)

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