Marketing campaign launched to spotlight “information darkness” web shutdown in Rakhine State

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Campaign launched to highlight “data darkness” internet shutdown in Rakhine State


By GEOFFREY GODDARD | FRONTIER

YANGON — Myanmar Centre for Accountable Enterprise and three companions have launched a marketing campaign to spotlight the impression of an web blackout on residents of 4 townships in Rakhine State.

The marketing campaign will culminate on September 30 with “Myanmar Web Blackout Day 101” to “present solidarity with over 600,00zero folks in Rakhine who could have had not entry to the web for 101 days,” MCRB mentioned in a press release on its web site.

“On that day, MCRB encourages anybody who cares about web entry, whether or not from enterprise, authorities or non-government organisations and people to show off their cell information, flip off their wifi, put an out-of-office message on electronic mail, and shut Fb, and see what it looks like,” it mentioned.

“Alternatively, inform us why you may’t survive in the future with out web entry, not to mention 101.”

The marketing campaign to spotlight the federal government’s “unprecedented order” on June 20 to close down all cell phone operators in eight Rakhine townships and Paletwa Township in neighbouring Chin State, which affected a couple of million folks, additionally entails civil society teams Free Expression Myanmar, Myan ICT for Improvement Organisation (MIDO) and neighborhood tech hub, Phandeeyar.

On the night time of August 31, the federal government lifted the restriction in 5 townships – Rathedaung, Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Myebon, in addition to Paletwa – however it stays in drive in Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw and Minbya.

The shutdown was the primary to be ordered underneath part 77 of the 2013 Telecommunications Regulation and got here as combating continued in Rakhine between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Military, which says it’s combating for larger autonomy for the state’s Rakhine folks.

MCRB mentioned these affected within the authentic 9 townships, together with their elected representatives, have tried to attract the federal government’s consideration to the impression of the “information darkness” community shutdown on their every day lives.

“For instance, entry to cell cash companies for remittances from abroad members of the family is blocked, small companies, similar to merchants, are unable to conduct enterprise simply, and data has been lower off for these in search of work or training,” it mentioned.

“As companies – together with e-government – go additional on line, those that are denied entry to the web might be additional discriminated towards, rising inequality.”

It mentioned the web shutdown in battle areas of Rakhine was having severe penalties for the security and welfare of residents. Native residents want entry to the web to acquire assist, emergency companies and humanitarian support, to facilitate contact between displaced households, and to share details about the state of affairs on the bottom, it mentioned.

The organisers provide a spread of strategies for many who want to help the marketing campaign, together with discussing with office colleagues whether or not or not they or their organisation might exist with out information for a day.

In addition they counsel supporters copy and paste the next response to look of their electronic mail auto-response field between 00.00 and 23.59 on September 30: “On 30 September, I’m collaborating in Myanmar Web Blackout Day 101 to point out solidarity with over 600,00zero folks in Rakhine State who’ve gone for 101 days with out entry to the web, on the orders of the Myanmar authorities. As a part of this marketing campaign, I’ll flip off information on my cell phone and web for 24 hours. In case of urgency, please name my telephone or ship me an SMS.”

MCRB mentioned that though part 77 refers to “momentary” suspension, the order on June 21 was open-ended, didn’t clarify the general public curiosity for the shutdown, and has been in place for greater than two months within the 4 townships with none indication when it is going to be lifted.

MCRB, MIDO, FEM and Phandeeyar have labored collectively to organise Myanmar Digital Rights Boards in 2016, 2018, and 2019. The boards have introduced collectively enterprise, authorities, and civil society organisations to debate how Myanmar’s transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be achieved in ways in which defend, respect and improve the enjoyment of human rights.  

Contributors on the Myanmar Digital Rights Boards – in addition to the United Nations – have constantly burdened the significance of common entry to the web as a basic enabler of a variety of human rights, MCRB mentioned. 

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