Internet networks were blocked during the military coup in Myanmar

Internet networks were blocked during the military coup in Myanmar

NGOs report that during the military coup there were interruptions to network connections to isolate communications

(photo: Getty Images) Following the coup in Myanmar, the country's internet network was subjected with controlled blackouts. After the military arrested incumbent government leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that won last November's elections with a large majority with the accusation of electoral fraud, there were continuous blocks to internet connections. The non-governmental association NetBlocks, which deals with the monitoring of digital rights, has identified the first blackouts from 3 am, local time, with a crescendo that has knocked out up to 50% of network operations.

Update: Internet connectivity in #Myanmar has fallen to 50% of ordinary levels as of 8:00 am local time amid an apparent military coup and the detention of civilian leaders; pattern of disruption indicates centrally issued telecoms blackout order ūüďĶ

- NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 1, 2021

The data analyzed by NetBlocks shows how a centrally ordered shutdown mechanism appears to be in place affecting several network operators including Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications, the state telecommunications operator, and Telenor, with the aim of isolating the country's communications and removing any obstacles or actions to combat the coup.

"It is unacceptable to shut down the internet and interrupt telecommunications to prevent a democratic transition", said Raman Jit Singh Chima, director of the Asia and Pacific area of ​​the NGO Access Now which has been involved in the defense of rights since 2009 digital: “Blocking connectivity at a time like this is too often used to obscure abuse and repression and facilitate impunity. All Myanmar authorities, including the military, must act immediately to restore connectivity. ”

The findings of the two NGOs have been confirmed by users and journalists in the country. Although the Myanmar government does not practice direct censorship of online content, in 2019 Freedom House, an NGO that deals with human rights, assigned a score of 36/100 in its ranking of internet freedom worldwide, highlighting a manipulation of online content from both the military and the NLD itself, for political purposes.

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