Blocking Facebook: A Hot New Trend in Southeast Asia?

Cambodia anti-censorship campaign image by Licadho. Used with permission.
Cambodia anti-censorship campaign image by Licadho. Used with permission.

When clashes broke out in Mandalay in central Myanmar between Buddhists and Muslims early this month, the initial response of the government was to impose a curfew. Then, it blocked Facebook. Written byMong Palatino

Police claimed blocking the social network would help prevent the spread of violence, but citizens and free speech advocates were skeptical of this rationale.

In an interview with the Irrawaddy Magazine, Myanmar Chief Police Officer Win Kaung admitted that the government ordered the blocking. He explained that their aim was to stop religious extremists from using the Internet to incite more hatred between people of different faiths:

Yes, we blocked it. We wanted to stop the instigation. When they are doing the instigation or spreading the unverified news, this could only provoke the underlying hatred between different groups or people; one’s own word or line could lead to a bigger conflict. Read more

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