Kashmir’s Slow Internet Means COVID-19 Rumours Get Long Shelf Life

Internet services in Kashmir were restored earlier this month, but the slow speeds have left people frustrated.

Published
My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Producer: Zijah Sherwani

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There is a growing demand to restore full speed 4G in Jammu & Kashmir amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Students who have returned home, people working from home, doctors, and healthcare workers are all finding it difficult to access information about COVID-19.

Web pages don’t load, videos keep buffering due to painfully slow internet, making it difficult to prepare and obtain critical information about the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the J&K administration on Thursday said that only 2G mobile services will be available till 3 April.

People are getting worried after the first coronavirus death in Kashmir has been reported. Anika, a student, told The Quint that people are more scared than they need to be because of a lack of information regarding the virus. This information vacuum, she says, is also paving way for fake news and rumours to take hold.

“It’s obvious that fake news and rumour-mongering is at its peak right now in Kashmir.” 
Anika, Student

People are not even aware of where to go to get tested. How can they find out? Usually, the internet is a good resource. But the internet is of no help to the people of Kashmir. One student told me:

“How is the government supposed to inform the public about what’s happening and where they can get tested? We have a lot of rumours going on about the lack of facilities and other things. And we have no way of confirming it on the go. So, 4G is the most important thing right now.”  

Internet services were restored earlier this month but the slow speed left people frustrated. A file as small as 24MB, of the ICU guidelines from England, took hours to download. Countering the rise of misinformation in these conditions becomes especially tough.

Another student said, “The whole world is talking about coronavirus, except us, because we don’t have enough knowledge to talk about it.” She said,

“It’s our basic right to know. And it’s important especially when you want to inform the larger masses. When you want to tell them what are the precautions you need to take in order to stop the spread of the virus.”  

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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