On July 27 Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition is launching Kill Switch, a six-part podcast series exploring the devastating impact of internet shutdowns on the human rights of people affected by this extraordinary form of anti-democratic oppression. The first episode is going live on the opening day of RightsCon, the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age, which will take place completely online for the first time, and runs July 27 — 31.
Kill Switch features the stories of journalists, human rights defenders, activists, and others who have been deliberately cut off from the internet, and raises the profile of the NGOs, human rights advocates, and technical experts who are working to put an end to internet shutdowns globally.
From Myanmar to Ethiopia, each episode addresses topical issues, the broad range of urgent human rights concerns that shutdowns raise, and the strategies that those fighting these devastating blackouts are leveraging to defend and extend the digital rights of people affected by these cut-offs. Kill Switch serves as an advocacy tool for anyone interested in supporting the #KeepItOn campaign, as well as an educational tool to raise awareness of this unparalleled form of suppression.
“As Access Now’s 2019 #KeepItOn report documents, governments often cite ‘national security’ or ‘public safety’ as justification for internet shutdowns. However, the reality on the ground is that these deliberate and repeated disruptions put their own people in harm’s way,” said Anthonio. “At the height of COVID-19, it is imperative that all governments cease and desist ordering shutdowns immediately, as cutting access to the internet for political reasons will further escalate tensions and endanger lives. No one should be denied their human right to access life-saving information because a government wants to gag protesters, silence critics, or influence elections. Internet shutdowns hurt everyone, including governments themselves, but they cause harm to the already vulnerable and marginalized groups of people, such as refugees, the most.”
The first episode of Kill Switch, The Rise of Internet Shutdowns, is now available online. Anyone can tune in, and subscribe to Kill Switch on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Access Now will also share episodes on YouTube.
“People ask us what they can do to stop internet shutdowns in various countries,” added Anthonio. “One way is to help raise awareness that governments are continuing to order shutdowns — such as by sharing the ‘Kill Switch’ podcast and joining the 220+ organizations from 99 countries who are part of the #KeepItOn coalition. We need more voices to draw attention to these horrific, rights-harming network disruptions.”