Friday, September 28, 2007

Asia Times: Burmese Bloggers on the Frontlines

Myanmar's blogs of bloodshed

By Richard S Ehrlich

BANGKOK - Dodging a deadly military crackdown, bloggers in Myanmar are now on the front lines providing news and photos of death and insurrection. The military responded on Friday by closing down the Internet, signaling that a wider and more severe crackdown on street protesters could be imminent.

At least 10 people are believed to have been killed this week in protests led by Buddhist monks against the military government. Scores of people have been arrested, including monks, during
demonstrations that have brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of the old capital Yangon since the beginning of the week.

Beginning on Monday, Myanmar authorities started to close down several public Internet cafes in Yangon, according to international press freedom groups. The state-affiliated main Internet service provider, Bagan Cybertech, meanwhile, apparently on government orders had slowed down the speed of its Internet connections, making it more difficult for journalists and bloggers to send large-file-size photos and video clips to outside news organizations.

These include, which also publishes a monthly Irrawaddy magazine in Thailand, and, the Democratic Voice of Burma radio, based in Norway.


The most respected of those websites are now mainstream, offering reports quoted by international news organizations.

In 1988, Burmese journalists in exile set up, promoting democracy in Myanmar through the activists' India-based Mizzima News Agency, which is bilingual in Burmese and English, and now includes online video.

Some blogs, such as, collect Internet links relating to Myanmar, and warn when the regime blocks websites and blogs.

Graffiti artists can now go to for stencil images portraying Buddhist monks - to be cut out, held against a wall, and spray-painted, resulting in a picture of two monks walking - similar to internationally acclaimed graffiti artist Bansky's urban icons.

The authorities blocked popular blogs, and which continuously posted news and photographs of ongoing protests against the fuel price hike and economic hardship.

Read the rest here

Recent stories in Asia Times concerning Burma

Monks in the vanguard for regime change (Sep 28, '07)

The man behind the Myanmar madness (Sep 28, '07)

Buddha vs the barrel of a gun (Sep 27, '07)

Moment of truth for Myanmar's military (Sep 27, '07)

Burning down Myanmar's Internet firewall (Sep 21, '07)

No comments: