An antenna is seen in Bogota, Colombia, on December 19, 2019. The Global Network Initiative, a coalition of groups including CPJ, recently called on govermnents to maintain internet connectivity during the COVID-19 crisis. (Reuters/Luis Jaime Acosta)
An antenna is seen in Bogota, Colombia, on December 19, 2019. The Global Network Initiative, a coalition of groups including CPJ, recently called on govermnents to maintain internet connectivity during the COVID-19 crisis. (Reuters/Luis Jaime Acosta)

Network shutdowns restrict reporting during COVID-19 crisis

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The Global Network Initiative, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations of which CPJ is a member, issued a statement yesterday calling on governments to refrain from shutting down internet access amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Jammu and Kashmir to Iran to Indonesia, CPJ has documented how internet shutdowns restrict press freedom and impede the ability of journalists to do their jobs. When governments shut down the internet or mobile phone networks, or throttle speeds to restrict access and manipulate information flows, it makes journalism virtually impossible.

The Global Network Initiative statement addresses particular concerns about government-mandated network shutdowns during the COVID-19 health crisis. These shutdowns “can also make it more difficult for journalists to access government information and conduct independent reporting, thus inhibiting media freedom and the public’s access to information,” the statement notes, calling on governments to meet international human rights standards and maintain internet connectivity.

The statement can be read here.