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. Even I was shocked when I heard about it.”
The increase is way beyond the meager means of virtually all the former Burma’s 56 million people, for whom international broadcasts such as Al Jazeera or Norway-based dissident network Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) are the main source of news.
Read the full story in Reuters here
Good answer from the official is that “We were just ordered by the higher authorities”.