Prepare, Prevent, Resist: The OPTIMA Internet Shutdowns Resource Library

The OPTIMA Library is a compilation of new and existing resources, guides, methodologies, and more to assist individuals and activists before, during, and after an Internet shutdown.

Some governments treat the internet like a water tap – slowing access down to a drip or even turning it off entirely to prevent citizens from sharing information, silence citizens, stifle political opposition, and ultimately stay in power. States have a large arsenal of tools at their disposal to limit internet access; from blocking specific social media platforms, to shutting down broadband and mobile services, or even throttling (slowing) internet bandwidth so it can take an hour to upload a short video. Activists and internet users, however, find themselves too often under-resources and under-prepared. This library seeks to help by serving as a one-stop-shop for individuals looking to better prepare for, respond to, and advocacy against internet shutdowns. 

So what are internet shutdowns? Shutdowns are among the most extreme and draconian censorship tactics that governments use to control speech and stifle civic participation; shutdowns not only deny citizens their rights to expression and information, but also threaten health, safety, and economic security. While the reasons governments publicly give for these shutdowns may differ (fighting fake news! preventing cheating on exams! national security!), the message they send to their citizens is the same: we control you.

OPTIMA has spent two years mapping community capacity to respond, and has curated the following library to respond to gaps and needs identified by our trusted network of partners. To learn more, check out our comprehensive needs assessment report below. 

Assessing Civil Society Preparedness

Since 2019, Internews has worked closely with leading digital rights and internet freedom organizations to engage in a series of four country-specific comprehensive needs assessments. These assessments, and the associated reports, sought to understand civil society’s capacity to engage in internet shutdown advocacy, and provide recommendations for next steps to better prepare for, and prevent shutdowns. 

India Report

Click here for the full report written in partnership with and The Bachchao Project

Bangladesh Report

Click here for the full report written in partnership with Digitally Right and VOICE Bangladesh

Senegal Report

Click here for the full report written in partnership with Computech and Jonction

Tanzania Report

Click here for the full report written in partnership with ISOC Tanzania, Zaina Foundation, and Change

Global Needs Assessment Report

Click here to read the global internet shutdown needs assessment conducted in 2020. This report focuses heavily on the Africa region but includes data and recommendations for a global advocacy community

The Resource Library contains resources that support community driven action before, during, and after a shutdown has occurred


Support those preparing for a potential future disruption to understand threats, build coalitions and civil society capacity, and engage in preventative advocacy, measurement and outreach.


Assist those actively experiencing an internet shutdown to stay connected and document abuses.


Provide resources and guidance to document the impact of a shutdown, sustain coalitions to prevent future shutdowns, and fight shutdowns in court.

Not sure where to start, or which resources to use?

Take our Internet shutdown risk and advocacy assessment to receive a customized guide for conducting advocacy in your specific context, including relevant resources and recommendations.

Do you have a resource to add? This is a constantly evolving library so please share it with us by clicking here!