Use and Abuse of Social Media in Myanmar between 2010 and 2022

Athens Journal of Law - Volume 8, Issue 3, July 2022 – Pages 309-330

20 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2022

See all articles by Robert Brian Smith

Robert Brian Smith

University of New England (Australia) - School of Law

Nucharee Nuchkoom Smith

Kasetsart University

Date Written: July 1, 2022

Abstract

Myanmar, or Burma as it was previously known, has been under almost most continuous military rule since 1962 except for a brief period from 2016 until 1 February 2021. The military started the transfer of power to a civilian government in 2010 until the military staged a coup on 1 February 2021. The country has essentially been in a state of various civil wars since its independence in 1948. The period from 2010 saw the opening up of the telecommunications sector and a rapid uptake in social media. The spread of smartphones has opened up communication to the masses and provided them with access to information; the Myanmar Military has also used it to spread disinformation. These campaigns are used to uphold the state, people and religion. To the military, this essentially means the Burman (Bamar) majority, the Buddhist religion and the unitary state (with the military as its guardian). In many of these endeavours, they have been supported by non-state actors such as militant Buddhist monks. Since the military takeover in 2021, the resistance has also used social media, particularly young people and the many ethnic armed groups.

Keywords: Social-media, disinformation, human rights, military rule, cyber security legislation

JEL Classification: K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Smith, Robert and Smith, Nucharee Nuchkoom, Use and Abuse of Social Media in Myanmar between 2010 and 2022 (July 1, 2022). Athens Journal of Law - Volume 8, Issue 3, July 2022 – Pages 309-330, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4150894

Robert Smith (Contact Author)

University of New England (Australia) - School of Law ( email )

Nucharee Nuchkoom Smith

Kasetsart University ( email )

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