Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Independent news websites accessible in Burma for now


Some independent Burmese news websites and blogs including Mizzima’s main websites (www.mizzima.com and www.mizzimaburmese.com), which were earlier blocked by the junta have been allowed access in Burma now...

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Some independent Burmese news websites and blogs including Mizzima’s main websites (www.mizzima.com and www.mizzimaburmese.com), which were earlier blocked by the junta have been allowed access in Burma now.

Moreover, some political websites and blogs, strictly blocked by the junta after the 2007 September saffron revolution can be accessed from early this month in some townships in Burma.

Internet users in Rangoon, Mandalay and Pyapon in Irrawaddy Division can now freely visit independent Burmese news websites that are operated from outside Burma such as Mizzima and Irrawaddy as well as political blogs such as Dr. Lun Swe, Nicknayman, September Thavara, Ko Htike, Soneseeya without using proxy servers.

It may not be true for all the places and townships in these areas of Burma mentioned but Mizzima reporters asked some readers living in these states about accessing the previously banned websites and they confirmed it.

“I am surprised to see all these websites can be accessed. We could not do so till the end of December. Now we can access them from early this month. Now I am downloading songs from Youtube,” a company staff who usually uses internet in Rangoon told Mizzima. Youtube was banned in Burma.

However, it is still not clear whether all the internet channels have been opened for free access or it is just a technical glitch. It is also not known whether the junta has an ulterior motive.

“We have been living under military rule for over 20 years. So I feel nothing at this. Just being able to access some websites and Youtube is not worthwhile,” he said.

But India, New Delhi based ‘September Thavara’ blogger a Buddhist monk Ashin Thavara said, “Anyway it’s worthwhile for the people even if it lasts only a few days. Access to news about the junta’s activities is more important than visiting our blogs”. His bog http://ashin-htavara.blogspot.com/, launched in 2008 publishes political views and opinions besides compiling news and articles produced by Burma’s independent news agencies.

During the 2007 September monk-led protests, activists and internet users in Burma sent photographs, video footage, clips and news stories of the brutal crackdown to foreign news agencies and some popular political blogs and websites free of charge. This way, these were disseminated to the whole world almost immediately.

Following, which internet service providers in Burma, MPT and Myanmar Teleport, under the control of Myanmar Telecom strictly restricted access to many websites and blogs.

“I think allowing access to the websites and blogs indicate some foul play. Maybe they want to monitor and trace who visits these previously banned websites and blogs. So I think those who visit these banned websites and blogs should use proxy servers as earlier,” a local resident from Mandalay who usually visits these websites told Mizzima.

According to Mizzima’s research, there are 36 cities in Burma, accessible to the internet.

About 85 per cent of the total internet users in Burma are from Rangoon which has a maximum of about 350 internet cafes.

The junta officially allowed private company ‘Yadanabon Teleport’ based near Pyinoolwin (Maymyo), Mandalay Division to conduct four state controlled services of communication and data namely internet service provider, email service provider, human resource developments and installation of necessary machinery and equipments there.

Burmese bloggers mainly use blogspot.com, free service provided by Google.

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