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Nepal: Roar against Internet Shutdown

Categories: South Asia, Nepal, Digital Activism, Economics & Business, Protest, Technology

The decision of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) to shut down internet services for two hours – one each in morning and evening – didn’t have good effect on bloggers. The shutdown was a part of the protest program announced by the Nepal’s industrialists [1] against the Maoists’ beating of a hotelier [2]. But most of the bloggers who condemned the Maoists action were angered by the internet shutdown. While the ISPs are back to providing their service through the day and we're all online, bloggers from Nepal had a lot to say about the issue.

Informing about the shutdown, My Sansar [3] wrote:

काठमाडौँ उपत्यकामा इन्टरनेट सेवा अहिले अपराह्न ४ बजेदेखि बन्द भएको छ । एक घण्टाका लागि इन्टरनेट सेवा प्रदायकहरुको संगठन आइस्पानले यो बन्द गरेको हो। उद्योगीव्यापारीहरुको आन्दोलनप्रति ऐक्यवद्धता जनाउँदै नेपालमा नै पहिलो पटक यस्तो किसिमको बन्द गरिएको हो ।

The internet service has closed down from 4:00PM today. The Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal called this one-hour shutdown in solidarity with the protest program of industrialists. This is the first time internet has been shutdown in Nepal by the providers.

United We Blog! [4] used harsh words to condemn the shutdown calling it a foolish thing and demanding the compensation to the customers and public commitment for no more shutdowns.

Who are these folks to close down the service that is branded as ESSENTIAL? We don’t need another Gyanendra Shah to deprive us from Internet. [Gyanendra closed down Internet in Nepal for a week when he took over the government in the Feb 2005 coup.] We don’t need another information and communication blackout on any excuse. NO.

Mero Guff [5] describes an incident when he was unable to log in for an important work and upon knowing about the shutdown through the ISP support desk, he couldn’t believe it:

Now, being user, I've paid them the subscription fees. Why are they indulging us in their programs… It's such a shame to relate ourselves [users] to this system [protest].

The Radiant Star [6], too, joined the ‘internet shutdown protest’ adding that no one could gain anything from the shutdown:

And aren’t they violating the consumers’ rights by that? They need to provide 24-hour internet if they sell the scheme saying that unless there is circumstances beyond their control…

Let’s condemn the closing down of internet!

The two-hour shutdown was to continue indefinitely until the industrialists pull out their protest program.