sound The new military authorities in Myanmar banned access to the Internet today, Saturday, as it faced a growing wave of protests against the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian elected government.
Many netizens noticed the slow disappearance of services, especially from mobile phone service providers, which accelerated sharply late Saturday morning.
The broadband connection also failed at a later time, while there were mixed reports about whether the landline service was still working.
And theShe said Netblocks, a London-based service that tracks internet disruptions and shutdowns, Saturday afternoon: The almost complete internet shutdown is now in effect in Myanmar, with connectivity down to only 16 percent compared to normal levels.
The widespread disruption came on the heels of Friday’s military government order to block Twitter and Instagram, along with a Facebook ban earlier in the week.
The communications cutoff is a stark reminder of Myanmar’s post-coup retreat and its comeback under direct military rule.
During the past five decades of military rule in Myanmar, the country was internationally isolated and communication with the outside world was tightly controlled.
Telenor, a major mobile operator in Myanmar, confirmed it received an order Friday to block Twitter and Instagram.
In a statement, Twitter said it was extremely concerned about the matter, and pledged to call for an end to the devastating government-led lockdowns that undermine public conversation and the rights of people to have their voices heard.
Since the coup, social media platforms have been major sources of independent news as well as organizing tools for protests.
Many users tried to evade social media restrictions by using VPNs, but shutting down the public internet disrupted this.
Civil society organizations urged internet providers and mobile phone networks to defy the orders to shut down the internet, according to Reuters news agency, and human rights advocate Amnesty International described the closure as outrageous and reckless.
Update: A near-total internet shutdown is now in effect in #Myanmar.
Network data show a collapse of connectivity to 16% of ordinary levels from ~ 2 pm local time 📉
The information blackout is likely to severely limit coverage of anti-coup protests 📵
NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 6, 2021