A lot has changed in the 20 years since the last potent protests in Myanmar (formerly Burma). For one, Internet access and digital cameras have placed media production in the hands of common citizens. So when blogs, images and streaming video capturing the recent protest in Myanmar began making their way around the world, authorities moved quickly to pull the plug on Internet access.
Myanmar bloggers already plagued with intermittent Internet access became more muffled as the government reportedly jammed satellite, SMS and mobile phones, and the country‚??s leading ISPs became ‚??down for maintenance‚?Ě. Internet cafes which serve a majority of this poor nation‚??s Web surfers were sabotaged by curfews which kept their patrons away. Alas, the saffron revolution was quieted and its coverage limited to AP reports.
So what could have helped Myanmar bloggers during this shutdown? Volume and access are two things that come to mind. Closing the International digital divide is not only good for business and technology; it‚??s also good for news reporting. So this holiday, I‚??ve added “Give 1, Get 1″ (XO laptop) to the list of charities and alternative giving opportunities I‚??m planning to support this year. It‚??s the least I can do to strengthen our international online community‚??and news service.