Access to the internet is necessary for the realization of freedom of expression, the right of access to information and the exercise of many other related human rights. However, on the African continent, as elsewhere in the world, the practice of internet shutdown for the purpose of suppressing access to information and the exercise of freedom of expression has been on the rise. With a view to providing a tool for policymakers, legal professionals and civil society to address unlawful and arbitrary practices in this area, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has developed this legal guidance.
This Legal Guidance is published by the ICJ with generous support from the German Federal Foreign Office. The Legal Guidance was drafted by Justice Alfred Mavedzenge. The final review was conducted by Ian Seiderman. Mulesa Lumina proofread and formatted the final draft.
The return of digital authoritarianism: internet shutdowns in 2021
#KeepItOn report; The return of digital authoritarianism: internet shutdowns in 2021.
Eyes on internet shutdowns
Globally, internet shutdowns are on the rise. According to AccessNow’s #KeepItOn campaign, there were 128 intentional shutdowns between January - July 2019, compared to 196 in all of 2018, and up sharply from 106 in 2017, and 75 in 2016. Around the world, governments, with the cooperation of telecom companies, are increasingly turning to internet shutdowns as a strategy to repress communities, prevent mobilisation, and stop information about human rights violations from being documented .