Telenor Myanmar, along with all other mobile operators and internet service providers in Myanmar, received a directive on 27 August 2020 from the Posts and Telecommunications Department (PTD) to block a named website and three associated IP addresses.
The directive is based on Section 77 of the Telecommunications Law, and cites the website circulating fake news and rumors as reason for the blocking. The directive does not provide a time limitation to the blocking. Telenor Myanmar is bound by law to keep any further details about the directive confidential.
While the authorities of Myanmar have legal basis to order such directives, the practice appears to be incompatible with international human rights law.
Telenor Myanmar has complied with the directive under protest. Telenor Myanmar has pointed its concerns regarding international human rights and that blocking IP addresses may inadvertently block additional websites or disrupt the operations of other sites.
Customers in Myanmar trying to access the affected URL are now directed to a landing page stating that the site cannot be reached due to Myanmar government instruction.
Telenor Myanmar maintains that its business is to provide a telecommunications channel and that we do not, and should not, select or alter the content of communications in our channel.
Telenor Myanmar views this directive with grave concern. Since receiving the directive, we have had multiple dialogues with the authorities protesting the blocking. Our position is that freedom of expression and the right of access to information should be respected. We will continue our efforts to lift the blocking and encourage the government of Myanmar to increase transparency for the public.