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Authorities block access to You Tube website

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Burma blocks You Tube

You Tube, the popular website, which features videos of the ongoing protests in Burma, has been banned by the military junta. Access to the video-uploading website has been blocked since 3 September 2007.

As is usual in the secretive military-ruled country, no reason has been given by the Internet service provider controlled by the Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) Department. BaganNet, the country's other Internet service provider, had also previously banned You Tube.

An Internet user in Rangoon told Mizzima that the video uploading of ongoing protests against the increase in fuel prices could be the reason for the ban. "Since August 22, when the Hledan demonstrations began, it spread through You Tube among online users here. Later, more followed," he said. "We could watch every demonstration on video."

Most Internet users in Burma rely on BaganNet, while MPT Internet users are mostly commercial.

No response was available from MPT even though Mizzima contacted the department several times.

Cyber cafés in Burma have prohibited users from browsing banned sites, which include news websites such as http://www.cnn.com , as well as dissidents' and pornographic websites. Mizzima is also on the list of hundreds of banned sites.

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