Internet users in Burma are alleging that the secretive military junta has banned more sites since 8 January 2007, creating difficulties in accessing free email and chat services, reports Mizzima.com, a New Delhi-based news site run by exiled journalists.
Mizzima’s sources inside Burma said proxy sites Polysolve.com, Glite.sayni.net, 3proxy.com and Unipeak.com are now inaccessible.
Prior to this, for almost a year, Burmese dissidents had been using such sites to get to banned sites, including those of email service providers, political opposition groups and human rights organisations.
Requesting anonymity, a staff of an Internet café in Burma said, “Most free sites have been banned.” Users could not access popular e-mail and chat services QQChat, VZOchat and Gmail. Keying in the Gmail URL will produce an “access denied” notice, Mizzima reports.
There are only two Internet service providers in the country, BaganNet and Myanmmar Posts and Telecommunicatons. Both are controlled by the junta that has refused to relinquish power to the National League for Democracy (NLD) despite the party’s landslide victory in the 1990 elections.
The last time the junta reportedly curbed the Internet was in June 2006, around NLD leader Aung Suu Kyi’s birthday, when information flowing in and out of Burma would peak as democratic nations all over the world clamour for the release of the Nobel laureate. Suu Kyi has been detained since 2003.
World attention is back again as the Security Council of the United Nations deliberates on 12 January the first resolution on Burma since putting the country on its permanent agenda in September 2006. The US-sponsored draft calls on the government “to take concrete steps to allow full freedom of expression, association, and movement” by unconditionally releasing Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, lifting all civil and political constraints, and allowing all political parties to operate freely.