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In 2021, authorities deliberately shut down the Internet at least 182 times across 34 countries, according to a new report from Access Now. This compares to 159 shutdowns recorded in 29 countries in 2020.

The report, ‘The return of digital authoritarianism: Internet shutdowns in 2021’, unpacks the data, trends, and stories behind 2021’s Internet shutdowns.

Key findings in the report include:

  • India shut down the Internet at least 106 times - making it top of the list for the fourth consecutive year. Myanmar shut down the Internet at least 15 times, and Sudan and Iran shut down the Internet at least five times each;
  • Governments blocked access to the Internet for the first time in seven countries: Burkina Faso, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Niger, Palestine, Senegal, South Sudan, and Zambia;
  • Authorities in Burkina Faso, Cuba, Chad, Eswatini, Iran, Jordan, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Sudan, amongst other countries, disrupted or entirely cut connectivity during protests in 2021;
  • Increasingly, Internet shutdowns were initiated in active conflict zones, including in Gaza Strip, Myanmar, and Ethiopia’s Tigray region;
  • There were seven election-related Internet shutdowns in six countries, in Chad, The Republic of the Congo, Iran, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia.

Read the report (PDF).

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