India Tops Global Internet Shutdowns in 2023

India Tops Global Internet Shutdowns in 2023


In 2023, India recorded the highest number of Internet shutdowns globally, maintaining this status for the sixth consecutive year.

  • These shutdowns, implemented for reasons such as communal tension, violence, and exams, have sparked significant concerns among civil society organizations within India and abroad.

GS02 (Polity)

Core Issues:

  • High Frequency of Shutdowns: India experienced 116 Internet shutdowns in 2023, the highest of any country.
  • Broad Reasons for Shutdowns: Shutdowns are often imposed due to communal tension, violence, exams, and other issues, disrupting communication and access to information.
  • Wide-Reaching Impact: Shutdown orders are typically applied regionally rather than locally, affecting larger populations and creating widespread disruption.


  • Disruption of Essential Services: Internet shutdowns hinder access to vital information, communication, and services, affecting individuals, businesses, and communities.
  • Concerns Over Human Rights: The use of shutdowns to control information flow during unrest or conflict raises significant concerns about freedom of expression and potential human rights violations.
  • Impact on Vulnerable Groups: Incidents like the ethnic violence in Manipur highlight the severe consequences of Internet shutdowns, especially for marginalized groups such as women, who face challenges in documenting and reporting atrocities.

Proposed Solutions:

  • Transparent Procedures: Implement clear, transparent, and accountable procedures for imposing Internet shutdowns, ensuring they are used only as a last resort and adhere to legal standards.
  • Strengthened Oversight: Enhance mechanisms for oversight and judicial review to prevent arbitrary or excessive use of shutdowns, safeguarding fundamental rights.
  • Resilient Communication Infrastructure: Invest in alternative communication infrastructure and resilience measures to minimize the impact of shutdowns on essential services and during emergency situations.


  • India’s status as the country with the highest number of Internet shutdowns in 2023 underscores a pressing challenge to internal security through communication networks. These shutdowns not only disrupt essential services and impede freedom of expression but also have severe implications for human rights, particularly for vulnerable populations. By implementing transparent procedures, strengthening oversight, and investing in resilient infrastructure, India can mitigate the negative impacts of Internet shutdowns and uphold the fundamental rights of its citizens.