Access Now Condemns Myanmar's Internet Shutdown During Military Coup
Multiple reports of internet shutdowns across Myanmar are emerging today, February 1, as the nation’s military attempts to seize control from the incoming second civilian government. According to several accounts, both internet and voice connectivity in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Sagaing regions, and Shan and Kachin states have been disrupted. Massive drops in regular internet traffic from Myanmar’s mobile telecom service providers and other internet service providers was experienced earlier today, followed by confirmed reports from media and other actors on the ground of internet shutdowns and disruptions — particularly of mobile internet services.
“It is unacceptable to shut down the internet and disrupt telecommunications in order to prevent a democratic transition,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Senior International Counsel and Asia Pacific Policy Director at Access Now. "Cutting connectivity at a moment like this is far too often used to obscure abuse and repression, and facilitate impunity. All Myanmar authorities, including the military, must immediately act to restore uninterrupted connectivity in the country and to all people, no matter their political beliefs.”
These disruptions have taken place as civilian political leaders called for public demonstrations against the reimposition of military dictatorship. As the world watches Myanmar, the apparent military coup has been condemned by governments and international organizations across the world.
“Internet service providers and all businesses operating in the telecom sector in Myanmar must actively push back against internet shutdown orders,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “They have a responsibility to uphold human rights, not create a space where they can be abused.”
Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition will continue to monitor the situation for further developments.