Myanmar Arrests Blogger
(From NY Times of 1/31/08)
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Myanmar's junta has stepped up surveillance of the Internet, arresting one blogger who wrote about the stifling of free expression in the military-ruled nation, a media advocacy group said.
The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.
Despite international condemnation and pressure following the demonstrations, there is little evidence that the junta is easing its repressive rule or moving closer to reconciliation with pro-democracy forces led by Suu Kyi.
The arrested blogger, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, owns three Internet cafes, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a release seen Thursday.
Myanmar authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the beginning of the month, pressuring Internet cafe owners to register personal details of all users and to program screen captures every five minutes on each computer, the release said.
This data apparently is sent to the Ministry of Communications, it said.
The only blog platform that had been accessible within Myanmar, the Google-owned Blogger, has been blocked by the regime since Jan. 23, preventing bloggers from posting entries unless they use proxies or other ways to get around censorship, the group said.
''This blockage is one of the ways used by the government to reduce Burmese citizens to silence. Burma is in danger of being cut off from the rest of the world again,'' the statement said.
Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest, Wednesday warned the public to ''hope for the best and prepare for the worst'' in her country.
The democracy icon was allowed to meet with executives of her National League for Democracy party, who afterward voiced her unhappiness that there is no deadline for talks to bring about democratic reform.