Myanmar Coup: Internet, Social Media Shut Down

Myanmar Coup: Internet, Social Media Shut Down

As thousands of Myanmar citizens took to the streets of Yangon to protest the coup in the country, internet services in the entire country were shut down along with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being banned by the military rulers.

Protestors have been demanding the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi who had a landslide victory in the election last year in November. The generals have refused to recognize the same and claimed fraud even though the election commission said it had no evidence to support the claims.

The military government on Friday ordered communications operators and internet service providers to cut access to Twitter and Instagram. The statement said that some people are trying to use both platforms to spread fake news.

Telenor, a Norway-based telecommunications company operating in Myanmar though a subsidiary, said it had complied with the order but also challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive. State media are heavily censored and Facebook in particular has become the main source of news and information in the country. It is also used to organize protests.

Meanwhile, civil society organizations in the country appealed to internet providers and mobile networks to resist their orders. They said they were "essentially legitimising the military's authority".

Mass protests erupted in Yangon with crowds chanting ""Military dictator, fail, fail; Democracy, win, win". They marched through the streets of Yangon as city buses sounded their horns in support, while police with riot shields blocked the main roads into the city centre.

The military has announced a one-year state of emergency in the country and will hand over power after new elections, without giving a timeframe.

Secretary-General of United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said the UN will do everything it can to unite the international community and create conditions for the military coup in Myanmar to be reversed.

Myanmar was under military rule for five decades after a 1962 coup, and Suu Kyis five years as leader since 2015 had been its most democratic period despite continued use of repressive colonial-era laws and persecution of minority Rohingya Muslims.

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Pratidin Time