Internet Access Amid Darkness and Lives Amid Threats

Analysis of Internet Blackout

Internet access is a crucial medium of communication in promoting democratic rights, human rights, and the right to freedom of expression. It has become essential not only in our daily routine but in a range of other activities such as verbal expression, writing, and information dissemination for communication, information sharing, education, health, and a citizen’s right to participation in political affairs. While internet access has become a fundamental human right in the global community, it is weaponized to obstruct and oppress people’s right to freedom of expression in authoritarian states or states ruled by strongmen.

In Myanmar, a country ruled by successive authoritarian governments, internet access is often cut to stash human rights violations of authoritarian rulers. Mainly, Myanmar encountered three significant internet shutdowns at three different times in history. The earliest incident was on 28 September 2007 during the Saffron Revolution.

The number of social media users in Myanmar was over 20 million in January 2022, which dropped by nearly 9 million from 29 million in January 2021 when Myanmar saw 29 million
social media users.1

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