With violence erupting in some districts of Haryana, the State Government has ordered the suspension of internet services in the districts of Nuh, Palwal and Faridabad, and sub-divisions Sohna, Pataudi and Manesar in Gurgaon district. As far as we know, internet services have not been suspended in the city of Gurgaon, although news reports suggest that incidents of violence that appear to have prompted Haryana’s internet suspensions have occurred in and around Gurgaon city as well.
As we’ve often written, there is no data or research to indicate that internet shutdowns aid in curbing violence. However, it does negatively impact the ability to voice your opinion, document evidence, and seek recourse, especially for marginalised communities. In fact, paras 2 & 3 of the Haryana orders appear to reiterate the same reasons that we saw in Manipur - ‘misuse of internet services’ ‘spread of inflammatory material and false rumours’ ‘misinformation…through social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter’.
We’ve often highlighted that misinformation may spread offline as well, but rather than curbing rumours or disinformation, internet shutdowns take away the ability of affected citizens to verify the info that they receive. It also helps authorities to evade accountability.
However, we do note, with appreciation, that in accordance with Anuradha Bhasin guidelines, the orders were uploaded on the website of the Haryana Govt. in a timely manner. And appear to be sent to the Review Committee. We urge other states to follow procedural requirements.
Mobile internet will not be available in these regions until midnight tomorrow. If you live in these areas and are affected by the internet shutdowns, write to us at [email protected].
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