The Myanmar military’s coup has sparked protests and demonstrations across the country. In response, the military is increasing internet restrictions, causing a reduction in connectivity according to the NetBlocks Internet Observatory. NetBlocks says that internet access is now only at 16% of normal levels.
Background On the Myanmar Coup
On February 1st, 2021, the Myanmar military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government in a coup d’etat. The new government, led by Min Aung Hlaing, declared a one-year state of emergency and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest. This has caused widespread protests and demonstrations throughout the country and outrage internationally.
NetBlocks’ Observation Of Internet Restrictions
NetBlocks is an independent non-profit organization that monitors global access to information networks with its observatory. In response to the coup in Myanmar, it observed a fall in internet connectivity from ordinary levels to 16%. This kind of large-scale restriction on information access is usually used by governments seeking to limit or control public discourse and unrest.
Jon Fingas/Engadget Report On Internet Restrictions
Jon Fingas is an editor at Engadget covering science and technology news. His report on NetBlock’s findings notes that this type of internet restriction has been used before by other governments seeking to quell opposition or unrest amongst their populations.
He pointed out that such measures can also be used to delay information regarding international events from reaching citizens in order to shape public opinion or create confusion over certain topics.
International Response To The Crisis In Myanmar
The international community has expressed outrage over the military takeover of power from elected leaders in Myanmar and called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners who are being held by the military regime.
A number of countries have sanctioned key figures within Myanmar’s military leadership for human rights abuses and violations of international law amid ongoing protests against their rule.
The internet restrictions imposed by Myanmar’s militarized government are having drastic effects on its citizens’ right to access information online as noted by NetBlocks Observatory.
Jon Fingas’ report provides insight into why this type of restriction might be implemented by authoritarian regimes, while international condemnation continues as people call for an end to the human rights abuses occurring in relation to these mass protests against military rule.