Burma’s Military Government Shuts Down Internet to Silence Protest

October 10, 2007 03:04 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Sept. 28, 2007, the government of Burma closed down internal access to the Internet; Burma relies on two Internet service providers, one of which is state-owned.

30-Second Summary

At a time of heightened media interest in the fate of citizens in the Burmese uprising, the military government stated that a problem with an undersea cable had disabled the country’s Internet service.

The authorities gave the same explanation during the four-day Web blackout of May 2006.

That earlier shutdown coincided with the military’s alleged attack on the Karen, an ethnic Christian minority indigenous to Burma.

Out of a Burmese a population of four million, 78,000 to 300,00––approximately less than one percent of the population––have access to the Internet.

Despite their relatively small number, the Web users in Burma have been an important source of information on the recent protests. “Citizen journalists” have been feeding the world images and information on the military’s attacks on protesters.

The most visible demonstrators have been Burma’s Buddhist monks who have taken to the streets in the thousands.

The monasteries are an integral part of Burmese society and the second most important political force after the military.

In Burma, it is common for young men to join monasteries for several years; the monks have widespread acceptance and influence among the general public. 

The recent weeks’ protests are the first major civil demonstrations since 1988. That previous uprising ended with the military killing 3,000 anti-government protesters.

Headline: Burma protests, Burmese authorities shut down Internet

History: 1988 anti-government protests

The Internet: Burma's experience, how Burmese authorities shut down the Internet, how the internet works

Related Links: China blocks sites, how the Internet works, and blocked blogs in Burma

Reference: The power of monks, Burma vs. Myanmar


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