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.
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
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.