Myanmar’s new military-led government is now seeking a possible nationwide internet blackout in the country.
Telecommunications companies and social media giants like Twitter have expressed their worries about this issue. Based on reports, Myanmar citizens were being stopped from using internet under the new governance.
Myanmar blocks social media giants
Myanmar, with a population of at least 55 million people as of 2019, is now facing a serious issue in governance and people protests.
On Friday, Feb. 5, Telenor, an internet provider with headquarters in Norway, confirms the new set of internet restrictions, happening in Myanmar.
It stated, on the new rule, that all mobile operators, international gateways, and internet service providers in Myanmar must block social media networks until further notice, as provided by the country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Though, SMS and voice-enabled platforms can still be used by their citizens.
Facebook, the biggest social media platform in the country, was already banned in Myanmar.
Surprisingly, even Instagram and Twitter were also included on the said blocking.
Nationwide internet blackout?
NetBlocks, an internet observatory that tracks disruptions and shutdowns, reported via Gizmodo that the country is now in the “midst of a second nationwide internet blackout.”
In its most recent update, the organization even insisted that Myanmar is now in its “near-total internet shutdown.”
“Network data show a collapse of connectivity to 16% of ordinary levels from ~2 pm local time,” the organization said on Twitter.
NetBlocks even confirmed that the blackout could stop protestors from voicing out against the government in social media.
“The information blackout is likely to severely limit coverage of anti-coup protests,” added by NetBlocks.
Not everyone is happy
Of course, not everyone is happy, with the turn-of-events in Myanmar’s supposedly ruining freedom of speech.
Rafael Frankel, Facebook’s director of public policy for APAC emerging countries, told Gizmodo that they are now talking to experts to reverse the initial possible internet block.
“We are extremely concerned by orders to shut down the internet in Myanmar and we strongly urge the authorities to unblock access immediately,” Frankel said. “At this critical time, the people of Myanmar need access to important information and to be able to communicate with their loved ones.”
Twitter also gave their reaction saying that they are deeply concerned on what’s happening to the country.
“It undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard. The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns,” said by Twitter representative.
Why Myanmar has an issue with internet
On Monday, Myanmar witnessed a historical event when the military seized power in a coup.
Many citizens in the country expressed fear after the military controlled the nation.
CNN reported that this event happened out of political issues in the country.
“This was a standoff between two people who were not allowed the presidency and both wanted it: Aung San Suu Kyi and the commander in chief. And he put his personal ambition ahead of the good of the military and the good of the country,” said Yangon-based analyst Richard Horsey.
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