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Junta makes Internet accessible again for day use, but service sporadic

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a 10 October 2007 statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Internet back in Burma, but lines fluctuate

Internet access in Burma has been re-established for day use since 9 October 2007, after more than two weeks of interruption, but users in Rangoon said the connection faltered after a few hours. A Rangoon-based journalist says the frequent failure of Internet connections could be the junta's way to continue controlling the flow of information out of the country.

According to an Internet cafe owner, "the lines were accessible from noon, but the connection again went off, like yesterday, at about 4:00 p.m. It was available for only a few hours, so we were not able to do any business."

One of the two main Internet Service Providers (ISP), Myanmar Teleport, was interrupted in the last week of September by the Burmese junta, to monitor the flow of information; it mainly provided services for civilian use, including commercial activities such as cyber cafes, sources in Rangoon said. The second ISP, Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) services, was maintained as it mainly provides services to a few selected government servants. The Internet lines interrupted in the last week of September were reconnected on 4 October only for nighttime use.

Since General Ne Win took state power in 1962, information flows in the country have been closely monitored and freedom of expression restricted. Burma under military rule is also infamous for the violation of press freedom, as seen in the recent brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

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