Myanmar Citizens Must Struggle to Get Internet Access

Since a military coup in February, Myanmar’s military has crushed protesters as fighting rages on between civilians and the military, who are on standby to target rebel forces opposed to the junta rule.

While the fighting is ongoing, Myanmar residents are also struggling to access the internet, as dozens of cities are reported to have no network.

Myanmar periodically experiences internet disconnections throughout the year, which the junta says is done to maintain “stability” and prevent disinformation and fake news.

Htaike Htaike Aung, an internet freedom activist in Myanmar, posted Tuesday on his social media account that access to the internet in 25 cities has been cut off.

The military government denied carrying out the shutdown and instead accused local defense forces of carrying out the internet shutdown, the statement was reported by the Mizzima news organization.

This year’s internet problems in Myanmar are exposed in a report from Freedom House, a non-profit research institute. The organization measures internet freedom of countries based on a variety of factors, such as content restrictions and user rights violations on a 100-point scale.

Myanmar was ranked number 30 in 2020, but this year it rose to number 17, which falls into the “non-free” category.

The report states that the junta began shutting down the internet shortly after the coup and later took control of Myanmar’s telecommunications.

The political situation in the country has resulted in one of the major operators in Myanmar, Telenor which is a Norwegian company, to stop its operations in the country.

The military also blocked social media platforms and at least seven online media. (jm/my)

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