29 countries restricted internet connection during 2020, report finds

    India was the champion in blockades, with 109 restrictions in Kashmir, according to a study by the Access Now group.

    Twenty-nine countries intentionally blocked or slowed down the internet during the year 2020, according to a report by the digital rights group Access Now.

    In total, there were 155 restrictions – 27% less than in 2019, when there were 213 interruptions.

    The champion country in restrictions was India, which interrupted the connection 109 times during the past year – 90% of them in the territory of Kashmir.

    From January 2020 to February 2021, the internet in Kashmir was limited to the 2G connection, which has a much lower speed than 4G broadband.

    The majority of Kashmir’s population is Muslim, the only Indian region in which Islamists are the majority, rather than Hindus. Many people who live there do not want the territory to be governed by India, preferring independence or accession to Pakistan.

    Connection interruptions also occurred in Latin America: Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba restricted access to the internet during the past year.

    In Europe, the blockade in Belarus during the period of elections and protests was highlighted by the report. On that occasion, the government restricted access to social networks, including WhatsApp and Telegram, in an attempt to hinder the articulation of demonstrations.

    Governments justified blocking the internet by citing fake news, precautionary measures, public security and national security, among other reasons.

    Seven countries, including India, Guinea, Belarus, Burundi, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania and Togo, restricted the connection during the electoral period in 2020.

    See the list of countries that blocked the internet:

    India – 109 times
    Yemen – 6 times
    Ethiopia – 4 times
    Jordan – 3 times
    Togo – 2 times
    Sudan – 2 times
    Kenya – 2 times
    Guinea – 2 times
    Chad – 2 times
    Belarus – 2 times
    Venezuela – 2 times
    Pakistan – 2 times
    Azerbaijan – 1 time
    Ecuador – 1 time
    Cuba – 1 time
    Vietnam – 1 time
    Myanmar – 1 time
    Kyrgyzstan – 1 time
    Bangladesh – 1 time
    Turkey – 1 time
    Syria – 1 time
    Iraq – 1 time
    Iran – 1 time
    Egypt – 1 time
    Algeria – 1 time
    Uganda – 1 time
    Tanzania – 1 time
    Mali – 1 time
    Burundi – 1 time
    The Access Now report is carried out through a coalition that brings together 243 organizations from 105 countries that monitor and defend the internet connection around the world.

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