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Burmese Government Disconnect Fails

In a land already lacking in many basic freedoms, Burma took a turn for the worst when the military government imposed draconian restrictions on citizens with access to the Internet. While access to the Internet itself may not be a right, the key role it plays in communication means that precluding access restricts free speech. The will to overcome such restrictions however, triumphed to a degree:

Savvy young bloggers in Myanmar are breaking through the military junta's tight Internet controls to post photos and videos of swelling anti-government protests, experts said Tuesday.

The government blocks almost every website that carries news or information about the Southeast Asian country, and even bars access to web-based email.

But an army of young techies in Yangon works around the clock to circumvent the censors, posting pictures and videos on blogs almost as soon as the protests happen.

Many of these images have been picked up by mainstream news organisations, because bloggers have managed to capture images that no one else can get.

The development and employment mechanisms to overcome state-sponsored repression of this nature are not new, but the importance of such efforts is reinforced during contentious world events. For a more comprehensive review of related events read the OpenNet Initiative report Pulling the Plug.