stories filed under: "myanmar"
As previously reported, the pro-democracy rallies in Myanmar have been closely covered by regular reports coming out of the embattled nation via cellphone, email and even YouTube. The government's attempts to try and pollute the web with their own propaganda must not have worked, since on Friday morning, the government shut off Internet access, cut phone lines and confiscated mobile phones in an attempt to control the outflow of information about the rallies. Though this may have slowed reports, it's very difficult for the government to completely clamp down, so some news reports are still getting out through mobile phones and a few satellite uplinks to the Internet. Even if the junta is able to completely shut things down, events can still be monitored from satellites, which are providing evidence of potential human rights abuses conducted by the government. Now that its next actions are being played out under a vigilant global eye, hopefully Myanmar officials will make the right choices in the coming days.
by Dennis Yang
Thu, Sep 27th 2007 7:02am
from the information-is-power dept
As Myanmar struggles towards democracy after 40 years under military junta, the Internet is playing a crucial role in the fight. News of Monday's protest was reported within a few hours of it starting, due largely in part to thousands of citizen journalists who sent their stories, photos and videos to global news sites. This is in stark contrast to the days that it took for news to break about the 1988 8888 uprising, where 3,000 civilians were killed. Now, armed with cameraphones and email, coverage of the events in Myanmar are posted immediately to blogs and news sites, forcing the junta to play out this weeks events under the scrutiny of global eyes. Well, perhaps the government has started to take notice -- false reports are being sent out as well, presumably by Burmese authorities looking to undermine those reporting the news or to spread government propaganda. However, regardless of how the medium is used, the most important thing is that the Internet has made it easier for information to be free, which presumably will make it more difficult for totalitarian regimes to hang on to the reins of control.