Internet

Kazakhstan Government, Telcos Must Put An End To Internet Shutdowns


Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition are appalled by
the internet shutdowns at the hands of authorities and
telecommunications providers in the first weeks of January
2022. Through an open letter to President Kassym-Jomart
Tokayev, the coalition is demanding action, and the
assurance of open, accessible internet for all across
Kazakhstan.

“It was a disgraceful start to 2022 —
shutting down the internet when people needed it most,”
said Anastasiya Zhyrmont, Eastern Europe &
Central Asia Regional Outreach Coordinator at Access
Now
. “These prolific attacks on freedom of speech
and access to information must not set a precedent for the
year ahead in Kazakhstan. The #KeepItOn coalition is
demanding the nation set a better standard.”

From January
2 until January 11
, 2022, authorities in
Kazakhstan toyed with internet access in response to
protests. The disconnect from outside countries provided
cover for escalating violence, and the state’s crackdown
on civil unrest.

“Internet shutdowns don’t happen
by chance,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and
#KeepItOn Lead at Access Now
. “They are
calculated, destructive tools designed to exert power, and
deny populations their agency. They also require cooperation
— telcos must fight back against government shutdown
orders, and do everything in their power to uphold human
rights.”

Through an open
letter
, Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition
are issuing a series of recommendations,
including:

The Government of
Kazakhstan:

  • Ensure that the
    internet,
    including social media and other digital
    communication platforms, remains open, accessible,
    and secure across Kazakhstan throughout the civic unrest and
    thereafter;
  • Stop shutting down,
    throttling, or blocking the internet,
    and make a
    state pledge to refrain from imposing any unlawful
    restrictions on internet access and telecommunication in the
    future;
  • Work in collaboration with internet
    service providers
    to ensure everyone has access to
    quality, secure, free, and open internet;
    and
  • Uphold the fundamental human rights of
    the people of
    Kazakhstan.

Telcos:

  • Publicly
    denounce internet shutdowns and disruptions
    and
    highlight their devastating impact;
  • Preserve
    evidence and reveal any demands from the government of
    Kazakhstan
    urging you to disrupt internet
    access;
  • Contest the legality of internet
    shutdown orders
    in court;
    and
  • Consult civil society and rally peer
    companies to jointly push back
    against government
    censorship demands.

Read the open
letter
.

© Scoop Media

 



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