In the name of public interest and state stability after blocking Facebook, the Myanmar Army further expanded its internet crackdown and blocked Twitter as well as Instagram days after seizing power in a coup. On February 4, the new military government blocked access to Facebook as resistance to Monday's coup surged amid calls for civil disobedience to protest the ousting of the elected civilian government and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered internet service providers and mobile networks in the country to block Twitter and Instagram, on Friday. Specifying Norwegian company Telenor, the company which provides mobile services in the country. The company further said in a statement that though the directive has legal basis in Myanmar's telecommunications law, Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive and highlighted the directive's contradiction with international human rights law, reported ANI.
In response to the military's decision, Twitter said that it was "deeply concerned" about the order.
"It undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard... The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns," a Twitter spokesperson said, reported ANI.
Facebook has urged the authorities to restore the connectivity so that people can communicate to their kins.
"Telecom providers in Myanmar have been ordered to permanently block Instagram. We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information," a Facebook spokesperson said, reported ANI.
As Facebook is very popular in Myanmar and used by 53 million people, the military has decided to block it. The ousted government had commonly made public announcements on the social media site. Also, Facebook has emerged as a key platform for opposition to the coup with photos of civil disobedience campaigns widely shared.
Myanmar's military takes over as they detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and declared it had taken control of the country for one year under a state of emergency. Rising tensions between the military and the government for weeks, the intervention came after the allegations of fraud in November's elections.
On February 1, the Burmese military began detaining the democratically elected members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other members of the Parliament were detained by the military, who later declared an emergency for a year. After the coup, Myanmar Army's Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing took charge of the country. The coup occurred a day before Myanmar's newly elected members of Parliament were supposed to be sworn-in. The military vowed to hold new and fair elections after the state of emergency ends and said it was committed to the democratic system.
(With ANI Inputs)