LIRNEasia has always believed in the efficacy of engagement and in the futility of boycott. Even when the conditions of our funding prevented us from spending money on citizens of Burma, we spent from our meager overhead funds to maintain engagement. We are continuing this practice at CPRsouth6 in Bangkok this month. Thus we are more than pleased to see the US removing the blocks on engagement with Burma: The steps Mrs. Clinton announced on Thursday were modest in scale but important symbolically.
Some governments shut down telecom networks including the Internet to control dissent. Others do not. What are the conditions that give rise to the former action? Why do others not do this? Israel never shuts down telecom networks but Sri Lanka does.
Buddhists are duty bound to offers alms. Zarganar, one of Burma’s most popular comedians, did. But to the wrong monks, according to the Generals. They were protesting the government’s misrule. Among other things Zarganar will be charged with offenses under the Electronic Transactions Law.
One key difference between natural hazards happening in Asian countries and similar hits in the West is the possibilities of them turning to disasters. While in west the timely issue of early warnings and evaluations lead to the reduction in casualties, many Asian countries still suffer from the lack of such arrangements. We hope the early warning in New Orleans will reduce the damage by Hurricane Gustav – a luxury unthinkable by the vast majority of the people of Burma and rural China. This is from BBC: The mayor of New Orleans has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the entire city, as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the US Gulf Coast. Ray Nagin said residents of the city’s West Bank should begin moving out at 0800 (1300 GMT) on Sunday, with the East Bank leaving at midday (1700 GMT).
LIRNEasia today handed over items worth of USD 1,500 to the fund established by the Lekhadikari of the Amarapura Nikaya, Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa thero to be distributed among victims of the cyclone Nargis in Burma. Cyclone Nargis was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the deadliest natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma. The cyclone made landfall in the country on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 80,000 fatalities with a further 56,000 people still missing. However, Labutta Township alone was reported to have 80,000 dead and some have estimated the death toll may be well over 100,000.
It is well known that China polices the Internet content that its citizens can access. The story below talks about a growing movement within China that seeks to challenge these arbitrary restrictions on simple information retrieval and publishing actions. A 17-year old girl’s comment “I don’t know if it’s better to speak out or keep silent, but if everyone keeps silent, the truth will be buried,” seems particularly powerful to me and motivated me to write this post. Several months ago, the government of Sri Lanka blocked access to Tamil Net, a website used by many, including almost all the important journalists, to find out the other side of our one-sided news stories on the war. Of course, this was easily circumvented by those who wanted to.
YANGON (Reuters) – Without warning, Myanmar’s military government has ordered a massive 166-fold rise in the annual satellite television levy in an apparent attempt to stop people watching dissident and international news broadcasts. With no word in state media of any license fee increases, the first satellite dish owners knew of the hike was when they went to pay the 6,000 kyat levy, only to be told it was now 1 million kyat ($780), three times the average citizen’s yearly income. An official at Myanmar Post and Telecom confirmed the increase on Wednesday, but was at a loss to explain it. “It’s not our decision,” the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. “We were just ordered by the higher authorities.
Yunnan-based Chinese companies are offering cheap phones and illegal mobile service in the North of Burma, according to a research report, prompting the military authorities to seize all Chinese mobile phones. It says the Chinese providers are “taking advantage of the inability of the Myanmar military junta to provide satisfactory and affordable mobile phone services in the Shan State and the Kachin State areas of North Myanmar.” Read more.
Myanmar restores Internet, but arrests continue | Reuters “The Internet connection was restored on Saturday afternoon, but we still haven’t decided whether or not to reopen our internet cafe yet,” a Yangon Internet cafe owner said. There had been intermittent access to the Internet over the past week, mostly during a curfew first imposed as the junta sent the army in to end protests led by thousands of Buddhist monks. Powered by ScribeFire.
Looks like international law is being made as we speak. According to the UN, basic human rights are violated when countries cut off Internet access. Burma is not the first. King Gyanendra of Nepal cut off everything in his palace coup. If cutting off Internet is a violation of human rights, what is cutting off phone service to entire regions like Jaffna?
The military rulers of Burma are planning to open a cyber city, based on Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, in January 2008. The following report states that the announced starting tenants are made up. TelecomTV – TelecomTV One – News Now, it just so happens that I was tracking a story on the junta’s plans for its very own cyber city just before the protests began. There have been quite a few reports across Asia recently that the Burmese “government” is building its 10,000-acre (4,050 hectare) “Yadanabon cyber city” project about 70 kilometres east of Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city.
Asia Times Online Most Internet accounts in Myanmar are designed to provide access only to the limited Myanmar intranet, and the authorities block access to popular e-mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail. According to the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a joint research project on Internet censorship issues headed by Harvard University, Myanmar’s Internet-censorship regime as of 2005 was among the “most extensive” in the world. The research noted that the Myanmar government “maintains the capability to conduct surveillance of communication methods such as e-mail, and to block users from viewing websites of political opposition groups and organizations working for democratic change in Burma”. An ONI-conducted survey of websites containing material known to be sensitive to the regime found in 2005 that 84% of the pages they tested were blocked. The regime also maintained an 85% filtration rate of well-known e-mail service providers, in line with, as ONI put it, the government’s “well-documented efforts to monitor communication by its citizens and to control political dissent and opposition movements”.
North Korea is part of Asia. LIRNEasia should at least think about this strange country as it goes about its work. The connectivity of North Korea is described below: The Internet Black Hole That Is North Korea – New York Times “This is an impoverished country where televisions and radios are hard-wired to receive only government-controlled frequencies. Cellphones were banned outright in 2004. In May, the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York ranked North Korea No.