Freedom of expression and opinion online is increasingly criminalised with the aid of penal and internet-specific legislation. In this special edition of GISWatch, the Association for Progressive Communication brings together analysis on the criminalisation of online expression from six Asian states: Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand. The IPO provided support for the extension of the project to include Malaysia and Thailand and work with researchers within these countries to produce the country reports.
In the midst of rapid socio-political transition, Myanmar is building its telecommunications infrastructure by opening its market to international mobile companies and engaging in national regulatory reform. With one of the lowest internet and mobile subscriber rates in the world, Myanmar faces multiple challenges in building connectivity from both an infrastructural and a policy perspective. Telecom developments could play a significant role in modernizing the country as it emerges from decades of political repression, and although the domestic connectivity plan is moving forward, several challenges need to be dealt with quickly in order to ensure a safe and accessible digital environment. This paper explores connectivity developments in Myanmar, paying particular attention to the opening of the mobile market to international companies, the launch of the new national telecom law, and the development of policies securing digital rights.