Burma Internet Access

Myanmar Internet Access

In view of the lack of development in Myanmar, the availability of Internet access is surprisingly widespread: You can find an Internet café or hotel with Wi-Fi in remote areas. Nowadays the Burmese have online access to everything they want. The Internet for companies, from the best mobile data service provider. These efforts were and are hampered by the regime's secret service and the lack of significant private Internet connections within Burma. The junta will only reopen Internet access during curfew time.

Myanmar's Internet freedom: Cursed or an occasion? USA & Canada

Shortly before former President of Tunisia Zine El Abidine Ben Ali escaped Tunis in January 2011, he spoke for the last utterance in a seven-minute address in which he pledged "rejection of all types of censorship". Within a few short and long stretches of the Internet, which had been severely censured, was open and for the first the Tunisians had access to everything they wanted.

The recent release of Reporter ohne Grenzen on "Enemies of the Internet" shows that once a nation has control of the Internet, it seldom goes back. Maldives and Nepal, two of the first nations to switch off the Internet long before the Egyptian Hosni Mubarak did so, have undone some checks, as did Morocco.

Almost three years ago, after many years of armed conflict, the state began a process of change to civil government. One year later, the previous reluctance of the mass communication industry was lifted and the Internet - once one of the most limited in the whole wide globe - was opened. Today the Burmese have access to everything they want to do.

Exile intelligence organizations have relocated to Yangon, their on-line visibility is now available from the state. Once jammed, web mail and web publishing are becoming more and more common despite low internet access. It is very much in demand and is thought to host more than 80 per cent of the country's millions of Internet useers.

But as some have stressed, even modest speeches call for an end to the violence that has afflicted Myanmar's public service network. Speaking to a large number of multinational reporters in Yangon, Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the Yangon government, spoke about the country's free press - which she only partially described as free - and stressed the journalist's accountability for the facts.

Your commentary has been part of what makes the discussion on freedom of opinion and the Myanmar press so intricate. Whilst it is often said that the best answer to tasteless speeches is actually more talk, the fact that even an opponent cannot avoid a powerful off-limits to debate such a contentious topic that such a policy is unlikely to work.

Yet censors often have the undesirable effect of driving harmful language into the background, making it even more problematic to react to it. Cherian George, PhD, who is a lecturer and journalist, has published an extensive article on the rules governing hatred speeches. Regarding the way in which many conservative society - Myanmar included - regulates language, he states that" the low level of censure - in the name of preserving unity - can be silenced by states.

Simultaneously, according to George, "failure to safeguard minoritarian laws often means "impunity for right-wing groups attacking minorities". That is why open debate and open communication are essential. Even Aung San Suu Kyi, the brave head of the opposing party whose acts and speeches have won her the Nobel Peace Prize, cannot be expected to talk frankly about the continuing violence there.

During the same meeting at which Aung San Suu Kyi was speaking, Nay Phone Latt, a journalist who was detained under the army for four years, made the important difference between hatred talk and instigation into violent acts, explaining that the latter is more sensible but more sub-cent.

In fact, what makes up" hateful speech" varies widely from court to court. Whilst some states - such as Chile, Canada and the Netherlands - have passed wide legislation to criminalize speeches inciting hostility against sheltered groups, other nations are more relaxed. India, for example, damages "public order, decorum or morality", while Polish law punishes those who hurt people' s sentiments.

Out on a burgeoning Internet, such schemes use silos. The inequalities increase when access to information - albeit often unwanted information - differs from state to state. It could of course be argued that access to hateful speeches is not a fundamental right and would be right. Hatespeaking, however, is only the first - never the only - subject to state censorship.

It is unlikely, in any case, that censorship of hatred speeches - instead of resolving the fundamental issues that have caused them to spread - will have a sustainable effect. A Californian living author and freedom of expression campaigner, C York currently works as director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.

Their work focuses on the interface between science and politics.

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