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Myanmar Military Blocks Facebook As People’s Agitation Against Coup Rises

The decision was taken to stop the spreading of fake news by the users who were also causing an uproar in the country

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd
Journalist

MYANMAR: Owing to the people’s protest in Myanmar against the military coup that surged into civil disobedience, the military blocked access to social media platforms on Thursday.

The military coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has drawn condemnation globally and calls on the military junta to accept NLD’s (National League for Democracy) landslide victory in November elections. The military has accused the win as a result of voting fraud.

Outrage grows over Myanmar coup

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The rage of the protest movement elevated on account of the government’s treatment of Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi. She has been detained on charges of illegally importing walkie-talkies believed to be used by her bodyguards after the army takeover on Monday. As per charges, she can be kept in custody until 15 February.

Staff and doctors at government hospitals across the country took their agitation to social media and declared that they won’t work for the military government, standing in solidarity with Suu Kyi. For two nights, residents of Yangon and other cities engaged in noise protests by banging pots and pans and honking car horns, the images of which were widely circulated on Facebook.

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Due to disruption spreading over the internet, mobile operators and internet service providers in Myanmar received a directive from the communications ministry to temporarily block Facebook. The decision was taken to stop the spreading of fake news by the users who were also causing an uproar in the country.

Read Also: Facebook Accounts Removal Angers Philippines’ President, Who Threatens To Ban The App

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Telenor Myanmar, which is part of the Norwegian Telenor Group, said that it was concerned as the order was a breach of human rights. Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging was also blocked in the country. “We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

Facebook is the most relied on and popular social media platform in Myanmar. It acts as an important source of information and communication. However, it has come under the lens several times in the past. Earlier, the military has used the social network to push fake news and fuel hatred towards Rohingya Muslims.

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