Naypyitaw: After blocking Facebook in the name of public interest and state stability, the Myanmar Army further expanded its internet crackdown by ordering a block on Twitter and Instagram, days after seizing power in a coup.
On Friday, the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered mobile networks and internet service providers in the country to block Twitter and Instagram, CNN reported citing Norwegian company Telenor, which offers mobile services in the country.
“While the directive has legal basis in Myanmar’s telecommunications law, Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive … and highlighted the directive’s contradiction with international human rights law,” the company said in a statement.
Deeply concerned: Twitter
In response to the move, Twitter said that it was “deeply concerned” about the order.
“It undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard… The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Business.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Facebook 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.”
The step to block Facebook, which is used by 53 million people in Myanmar, has been taken as a bid to quell dissent.
Facebook has emerged as a key platform for opposition to Monday’s coup with photos of civil disobedience campaigns and nightly pot-and-pan protests widely shared, Al Jazeera reported.
Myanmar’s military launched a coup on Monday morning and detained Aung San Suu Kyi, Win Myint and other National League for Democracy (NLD) members.
The military also announced a one-year state of emergency in the country, vowing to “take action” against alleged voter fraud during the November 8 general election, which saw Suu Kyi’s NLD party win resoundingly.
The military also said it was committed to the democratic system and vowed to hold new and fair elections after the state of emergency ends.