Win Nyunt | DMG

25 June, Sittwe

While more than one million people from Arakan and Chin states have no access to the Internet, activists’ groups for digital rights and CSOs on 24 June called for a prompt action to stop the Internet shut down.

The area has been denied access to information as well as local and international news and the cyber shutdown has made problems for humanitarian relief groups providing aid. So, the Internet shut down adds to the deterioration of conditions in the region when it comes to receiving information about armed conflicts and the hardships endured by people in the region, they said in their statement.

The Internet ban includes access to social media platforms as well so people cannot connect with emergency services and other civic related organizations that help people in times of trouble. Furthermore, officials might face difficulties distributing important information to people such as evacuation precautions and related information, the statement said.

Various activist organizations such as Athan Freedom of Expression Activist Organization, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and Organizer for Myanmar Digital Rights Forum released the statement.

The Internet shutdown went into effect on 21 June at 10p.m, the Myanmar government has temporarily shut down mobile data services provided by its four telecoms MPT, Mytel, Telenor and Ooredoo for Paletwa Township in Chin State and eight conflict affected townships in Arakan State namely Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Myebon Townships.

The government did not publicize the Internet cut-off in advance. Only Telenor informed its subscribers in the affected areas about temporary shut-down of its data services.

 

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