The abuse of five-year old Telecommunications Law enacted in October 2013 has been infamous since 2015 when the competing political parties strongly traded accusation against each other in election campaigns on Myanmar digital platform and social media. The Telecommunications Law became a threat to internet users who expressed their opinion online.
The repetitious cycle of contagious and excessive use of Telecommunications Law was triggered by a change filed by Tatmadaw against a citizen for his criticism of Tatmadaw in 2015 election campaigns. The Law was then increasingly used to sue criticism and expression on social media.
The Law was eventually amended by parliament in August 2017 following a push by the civil society organizations, legal experts and activists. But the amendment was superficial and fell short of the CSOs’ recommendation for change.As far as ATHAN’s count is concerned, there have been 150 cases under the Telecommunications Law in which 11 cases were under previous government, 91 cases under the NLD-led government before the amendment and 48 cases after the amendment.