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10/1/2007

Myanmar: Internet link remains shut

Filed under: burma,General,global islands,media,military — admin @ 5:27 am

Yangon – Myanmar’s main Internet link remained shut for a third straight day on Sunday, as the ruling regime tried to curb the flow of information on a bloody crackdown against protesters.

“I tried on Sunday morning again but it’s failed again. I haven’t been able to check my email since Friday,” said one Yangon resident.

Internet cafes in Yangon also remained closed. Over the past week, tech-savvy citizens used the cybercafes to transmit pictures and video clips of the regime’s clampdown taken on mobile phones and digital cameras.

“People inside Myanmar can’t send emails or news to outside organisations,” said Kho Win Aung from activist group Shwe Gas Movement.

“So they are losing their chance to express what’s happening in Myanmar,” the Thailand-based activist told reporters in Bangkok.

The government cracked down on protesters last week, killing at least 13 people and injuring hundreds more, in a campaign that has also intensified pressure on media operating in the country.

In the main city of Yangon, soldiers shot dead a Japanese video-journalist Thursday and beat people found with cell phones or cameras, witnesses said.

Myanmar’s military rulers always keep a tight grip on information, heavily censoring newspapers, blocking much of the Internet and rarely allowing foreign journalists into the country.

Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said that by cutting Internet access, the regime was trying to operate “behind closed doors”.

It has condemned Myanmar as a “paradise for censors” and listed the country as one of the world’s most restrictive for press freedoms.

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