Junta uses social media as weapon

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Yangon, March (16)

The UN special envoys have warned that the military council is using social media as a weapon to suppress democracy and human rights activists.

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews; special representatives to fight violence against women; and girls and UN special officials made this comment on March 13.

The military supporters are using social media to harass democracy and human rights activists and incite violence, targeting women and harming them, the statement said.

The military lobbyists have been posting hate speech and sexist comments on social media to discredit women activists and human rights defenders.

Women have had to reduce their online activities and pull back from the social sphere as a result of such rudeness.

Ma Nang Moah Moah, secretary-general of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), stated that women were subjected to personal attacks and sexually abusive words online.

The pro-junta groups have been labeling those active in the revolution against the military coup as terrorists, and posting pictures on their Telegram channels of civilian arrests, intimidation, village burnings, and massacres.

In addition, democracy and human rights activists have pointed out that the military supporters are posting on the Telegram channels about the arrests of those involved in the revolution and threatening them physically and psychologically.

A lawyer pointed out that it is against the law for any person or organization to use social media to harm people, psychologically or physically, contrary to existing laws in the country.

According to democracy and human rights activists, victims of the pro-junta’s threats are hesitant to share their beliefs, ideas, and opinions on social media, and freedom of expression is no longer available.

Pro-democracy activist Ko Min Thwe Thit said that the military council’s move sent a message to the people that if they opposed them, they could be killed at any time.

The Central Committee for Counter-Terrorism (CCCT) is also sending SMS messages to the people through the mobile operators that they will take legal action against those who share, like and comment on posts related to terrorism.

United Nations special representatives have warned that among social media platforms, Telegram has become an area of activity for pro-military groups, and urged that Telegram needs to properly control Myanmar user accounts.

News-Than Lwin Times

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