Internet link raises visibility of Myanmar protests

The ability of citizens in Myanmar to keep connected to the world via the Internet could make a substantial difference to the outcome of the current protests.

The ability of citizens in Myanmar to keep connected to the world via the Internet could make a substantial difference to the outcome of the current protests taking place in the South East Asian country, dissidents living in Japan said on Friday.

"You are seeing the biggest demonstrations in 19 years," said Tin Win, president of the Federation of Workers' Union of the Burmese Citizen in Japan, said at a Tokyo news conference. "But what is different this time is that because of IT the world is very aware of what is happening. On this point these protests are much more significant."

An estimated 3,000 citizens were killed in 1988 when the military government cracked down on protests taking place in Myanmar, formerly called Burma.

The latest protests have been going on for more than a week and turned deadly on Thursday when at least nine people, including on Japanese journalist, were shot by troops on the streets of Yangon.

Video of the protests has flashed around the world and first-hand accounts from citizens have appeared on blogs and independent media sites. News agencies have sometimes struggled to verify the accuracy of the information coming from the country, but in general the Internet has served to shed light on a crisis that may otherwise have gone under reported.

The government in Myanmar keeps a tight fist on the media but an even tighter first on the Internet. Opposition Web sites are blocked and screen captures on computers in Internet cafes are automatically taken every 5 minutes, according to Reporters Without Borders. IP telephony services and chat services are also blocked, the group said.

Nevertheless information is getting out from the country. Sites such as Zin Media, The Irrawaddy News Magazine and Mizzima News are carrying regular updates.

Some of the most graphic and gripping commentary has appeared on personal blogs like that of Ko htike. The site includes pictures from the protests and information from contributors including one from a Singaporean citizen who was shot by rubber bullets.

Quite how long the Internet link remains open to the world is unknown but the latest entry on the Ko htike blog indicates it may already be shutting down.

"I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the Internet connection throughout the country," it said. "I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?