Skip to Content

New Report: The Role of the Internet in Burma’s Saffron Revolution

09 December, 2008
By Allison Orr

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University has released a new report on the role the Internet played in Burma’s Saffron Revolution.   The Saffron Revolution is the name given to the series of anti-government protests that began in August 2007, and the release of the report coincided with the first anniversary of the Internet blackout in Burma in late September 2007.

Author Mridul Chowdhury has described the Saffron Revolution in Burma as "an unprecedented event in the intersection between politics and technology".  However, he points out that it is an example of an Internet driven protest that didn’t lead to tangible political change.  While he notes that there is a positive correlation between measures of democracy and Internet diffusion in most countries, "there is still no convincing evidence that there is any causal relation between the two". 

As Chowdhury points out, the government was able to control nationalised ISPs and black out Internet access and prevent images and information about the protests from reaching the outside world.  He puts forward the Saffron Revolution as an interesting case study in the ongoing debate over the role of the Internet in undermining repressive regimes.

Read the full report: The Role of the Internet in Burma's Saffron Revolution

More Articles