The consequences of throwing the kill switch on the Internet are set out in Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions. In this context, an interview with the editor of the Kathmandu Post who experienced the throwing of the kill switch in Nepal by King Gyanendra himself is illuminating:
UA: What was the impact of the internet shutdown on the media?
PP: It was very, very difficult. At the time, all our correspondents were using the internet to send news and it became very chaotic to manage the newsroom. We were not in a position to send reporters to events. It was like sitting in a dark room not knowing what’s happening around. I’m proud that we didn’t stop the newspaper although we immediately cut down supplements and the number of pages. We didn’t have enough content to fill the pages, and the photographs were not coming. It was like doing journalism a century earlier.
UA: Did the internet shutdown make media feel weaker?
PP: On the contrary, it made us feel stronger. People didn’t have faith on the King because he shut down the internet. Because of the shutdown, people believed he had sinister intentions. The internet shutdown was unheard of – as we had a belief that the internet couldn’t be shut down. But then we came to know that the internet could be cut off, and seeing what is happening around the world today, we know that even democratically elected governments can implement this crazy idea of internet shutdowns.
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