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Internet key in news coverage of Burma protests

09 October, 2007
By Allison Orr

According to Reuters, citizen journalists were at the forefront in providing news coverage and footage via the Internet of the pro-democracy protests in Burma that have now been all-but-quelled in the military dictatorship.

Anti-government protests erupted in Burma in recent weeks as a response to a decision to abandon domestic fuel subsidies which would significantly raise the price of diesel fuel.  The Burmese military have tried to avoid global attention, but the protests made international headlines via the use of amateur video and photo coverage sent over the Internet, some sent hidden in e-greeting cards, others using Facebook to get stories and photos out.

In order to halt photos and video leaving the country, the government responded by cutting phone lines and blocking Internet servers.  Internet cafes were closed and the main state ISP claimed that a damaged cable was the cause of a total loss of Internet access.

Free Burma organised International Bloggers Day for Burma on 4 October.  Those supporting this action refrained from posting a blog on 4 October and instead displayed one of the Free Burma banners created for the online protest.  According to the Free Burma website, more than 14,000 bloggers from around the world took part.

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