After banning Facebook a few days ago, the Myanmar Army further extended its Internet crackdown by ordering a ban on micro blogging site Twitter and photo-sharing Instagram. The new military ruler of Myanmar, on Friday, ordered cell phone operators and Internet service providers to block access to Twitter and Instagram until further notice.
Many citizens use social media and pro-democracy hashtags to condemn the military regime and call for peaceful demonstrations before the outcome of the election in November. Aung San Suu Kyi has called on supporters to resist the generals after being unseated in the Feb.1 coup.
The military seized power after claiming, without presenting evidence, Suu Kyi’s victory in November’s election was tainted with fraud.
In response to the block, Facebook Spokesperson said “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.”
Before blocking, about 22 million people in Myanmar use Facebook. Tens of millions have been flocking to Twitter and Instagram following the Facebook ban to voice their opposition to the military’s Monday takeover and the ousting and detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Telenor Group, one of biggest telecommunication operators in Myanmar said: “Telenor Group is gravely concerned with this development in Myanmar, and emphasises that freedom of expression through access to communication services should be maintained at all times, especially during times of conflict.”
They added, Telenor group always believes in freedom of expression, and actively looks to restore access to service as soon as possible.
The military also announced a one-year state of emergency in the country, promising to “take action” against alleged electoral fraud in the November 8 general election, which saw the victory of the NLD party resoundingly.